JOYO beekeeper

Beeing Cool (no more puns promise)

So for the three people that have read some of the other posts, you might remember the post about me beekeeping in NYC.  Through that meeting of a beekeeper, I hooked up with a guy here in DC.  Besides a beekeeper, Pete is also a veteran who is starting a non-profit called Fields for Valor which grows vegetables and donates them to transitioning veterans.  Part of that initiative will eventually include honey from bees.

You might be surprised but there is not really any farmland in Washington, D.C.  Enter urban farming and beekeeping and it’s not just for hipsters.  The concept is simple.  Have bee hives in places where it makes sense to cultivate bees in urban areas.  It’s great for the environment and super cool.

A view from on top of the crypt

A view from on top of the crypt

So the day starts off like any other, we meet at the Congressional Cemetery, which also doubles as dog park (seriously.) So there I am standing on top of a crypt, wondering if the deceased thought Santa was visiting.  Anyway, we grabbed a hive from there and loaded it on to Pete’s truck.  Then we helped a gal put her newly purchased bees into a hive. Well. They handled the hive and bees, and I took photos of the process.  It was fascinating and a big moment for a beekeeper such as myself.  So got down off the crypt and went to pick up more hives.  

Putting bees into there new home.

Putting bees into their new home.

We traveled to a woman’s house close by where we grabbed three more hives total.  We had to staple them shut, secure ratchet straps, and take them down an iron spiral staircase then through the house.  It was quite the adventure.

We drove across town to a hospital that has a green roof, and made the perfect spot for Pete to raise bees and collect honey for heroes.  We got the boxes on the roof and then we had to open the hives back up.  Apparently moving bees to a new home makes them a little cranky.  We had two half hives that we needed to stack.  That meant taking the bottom off and taking the lid off a top and then stack them.  This is when all the bees are exposed.  If you grew up in the 80s, you may remember killer bee movies of swarms etc.  Yep I’m glad I had that thought. Anyway I actually stacked a box and took it like a pro.  I had the jacket, veil, and gloves,  and all that gear made me fearless.  Then we opened the hives for business.  Everyone moved their entrance and took off.  They got nervous when I didn’t follow, but I was too busy taking photos. 

Anyway it was a super cool day and a lot of fun.  Hoping to start urban beekeeping in Knoxville upon my triumphant return to my beloved Knoxville.

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