Neighbors Participate in 1st Austin Beekeeping Tour

Written by Sarah Tuttle

Tour de Hives logoLast weekend, we hosted a stream of bee-happy strangers in our backyard for the inagural Tour de Hives. This event gave Austinites the opportunity to tour backyard beehives from Dripping Springs to Round Rock, seeing how beekeepers integrated their beekeeping into our natural environs. We got to show off our thriving backyard hive, here in Cherrywood, and they got to play with equipment and see how easy beekeeping is.

We’ve been keeping bees for a year and half. The truth is chickens were our gateway to backyard farm life. We’ve had chickens for about two and a half years. We moved to our new house in Cherrywood, and our yard left plenty of room for adventuring. The chickens proved to be entertaining, and a Groupon passed by several times to take a beekeeping class up in Round Rock. Why not? It seemed a little scary, and a little exciting so we gave it a shot.

The class was informative, and after a long back and forth we decided to give beekeeping a try. Bees are incredibly interesting insects, and there was even the potential for honey! We also had been following the issues with colony collapse disorder – bee populations have been struggling worldwide. And bees pollinate a large amount of the food that ends up on our table. We decided they were safe and went about getting prepared.

Everyone in our house (including our 5 year old) has a beesuit. The little suit has been great, especially for letting visiting kids explore the hive. Our hive is in the middle of our yard. We keep epipens “just in case”, but have never even had a visitor stung. We’ve got the beehive near our chicken coop, and not far from our play structure either. We’ve thrown parties in the yard. The bees are entertaining to observe, and we’ve even gotten a little honey. Watching them thrive, and helping their ecosystem to grow has been fantastic. We’re so much more tuned in to the seasons too. The bees rely on the pollen and nectar that comes with a bloom of flowers. Now, we notice what’s in bloom, and we notice the bees snacking wherever we go.

The Tour de Hives was a great success! We had almost 50 visitors, out of the 200 plus that took part in the event. Many people were coming with questions, to see how a little backyard bee operation might exist. We’re always happy to answer questions or give people a tour around our backyard beehive.

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