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IMAGE GALLERY: Get Buzzed — A Visit WIth a Salem Beekeeper

Salem beekeeper Joyce Maher invited Patch to spend an afternoon with her bees. Contributor Norman Kraft captured these images of the visit.

Beekeeping began in antiquity — even the Egyptians were known to keep hives and harvest honey.

While we all think of honey when we think of bees, these insects are also important to farming and the fertilization and growth of plants everywhere. Today, beekeepers will load their hives onto trucks to visit farms and groves that, without bees, would not prosper and grow. 

Joyce Maher and her husband, Kevin, discovered beekeeping recently, and in just a few months have built one very active hive in the Witchcraft Heights neighborhood. Recently, some of these bees left (swarmed) with the queen, leaving the rest behind. The bees left behind then made a new queen for the hive. On this visit, Joyce was opening the hive in search of the new queen.

With regard to beekeeping, Joyce writes: "I hope [the gallery] encourages more people to beekeep since we are in a honeybee crisis. It is pretty bad that people have to gather up hundreds of hives drive to almond country to pollinate the trees there — also up in Maine for blueberry season."

For more information about beekeeping, and how you can become a beekeeper, visit http://www.essexcountybeekeepers.org

Erin Cyr June 14, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Great pictures! Do beekeepers need any sort of license to operate? How much land do you need for it to be safe for neighbors and the keepers?
Norman Kraft June 14, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Erin, you don't need a license to be a beekeeper, but as to your other question I'll defer to an actual beekeeper. Anyone with expertise want to contribute?
Joyce Maher June 14, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Erin, you can have a beehive practically anywhere. There are no guidelines to space. The bee's do have flight patterns so you may want to consider that. My husband and I can set up a chair 10 ft. from our hives and watch the bee's foraging. Pools are an attraction because bee's do need a water source and they happen to love chlorinated water. The rule of thumb is to tell your neighbors ahead of time.
Erin Cyr June 15, 2011 at 01:12 PM
Thanks Joyce. Out neighborhood is supertight, so I doubt it would work here, but I would love to find a way to set up a community hive and work with a few other people to share costs and maybe rental of a space. It's kind of a dream though, not an actual solid idea yet.

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