“The beauty of a seed is that out of one you can get millions. The beauty of the pollinator is that it turns that one into the millions. And that is an economics of abundance.” – Vandana Shiva
The fourth annual National Honey Bee Day was celebrated on Saturday, August 18th across the United States. On the same day, Tour de Hives 2012, a self-guided tour of backyard beehives, offered 100+ participants a unique opportunity to learn about the fascinating craft of beekeeping. Participants were able to set their own pace and choose from 24 stops to visit in any order they wished. From personal experience I can honestly say it was incredibly educational and inspiring!
So much to do if you’re fascinated by bees, as I was . . . Admire bees entering and exiting hives on a beautiful summer day. Meet beekeepers and talk with them about their beekeeping style and varying techniques. Learn about the variety of hive styles and discover the difference between a Warre, Top Bar, and Langstroth Hive. Ask the beekeepers questions about the life cycle of bees. And then continue the conversation about beekeeping with other tour participants at a post event gathering.
“Native plants are undoubtedly the best source of food for pollinators, because plants and their pollinators have co-evolved. Many varieties of garden plants are also good for these important insects.” — The Xerces Society
All of us can provide a healthy habitat for bees! The plants we grow in our gardens and on our farms (and the growing methods we use) can add up to make a difference. Tour de Hives participants received this wonderful info sheet from The Xerces Society that includes a list of a variety of plants that grow well in the Pacific Northwest and offer pollen and nectar to our native bees. Do you live elsewhere in the U.S. or Canada? Visit the Pollinator Conservation Resource Center to find plant lists, habitat conservation guides, and more in your region.
Resources Shared During Tour de Hives
- Zenger Farm Bee Group meets monthly and manages the hives at Zenger Farm. The Tour de Hives 2012 event was a fundraiser for Zenger Farm, an educational urban farm in the City of Portland.
- Audobon Society of Portland’s Backyard Habitat Certification Program helps to restore native wildlife habitat in backyards smaller than one acre in Portland and Lake Oswego, Oregon. Native plants = native pollinators.
- Oregon State University’s Master Beekeepers Program has a year-long mentorship program.
- Portland Metro Beekeeping Association is a beekeepers club.
- Portland Urban Beekeepers meets monthly.
Beekeeping Classes and Supplies
- Bee Thinking – Specializes in top bar hive and Warre hive beekeeping supplies and resources. Hives are built from sustainable materials in the Portland, Oregon metro area. In addition to supplies and beekeeping resources, Bee Thinking provides swarm and bee removal, hive removal, top bar and Warre hive consulting and classes.
- Ruhl Bee Supply – Supplies and classes. For 114 years this store has been dedicated to sustaining the traditional craft of beekeeping, and to increasing awareness of its environmental and cultural importance.
- Livingscape – A full line of hive components and protective clothing. Livingscape’s Bee Center is expanding their stock of extraction equipment and supplies. Classes for beginner beekeepers.
- Bee Local – Urban Beekeeping Course.
Do you know of any beekeeping events, tours, or classes offered in your area? Please let us know by posting a comment.
We celebrate the growing number of urban, suburban and rural beekeepers around the world. We invite you to share your beekeeping aspirations and experiences here on our Blog. Are you thinking about ordering your first hive? Are you already a beekeeper? Did you attend Tour de Hives? We would love to hear from you. Let us discover and explore the sweet rewards of beekeeping together!