Ever thought of keeping a colony of honey bees in your own backyard? Or what it takes to get started in beekeeping? Maybe you just are curious about these docile, hard-working insects that enhance our lives in so many ways. This is your chance to find out what it’s like to experience honey bees up close--yes, that close! You'll don the gear and explore hives with 35,000 bees right alongside long-time Northeast Portland beekeeper Glen Andresen. You’ll hear the buzz, smell the young brood, and feel the wax and propolis. One part of beekeeping you are very unlikely to experience is getting stung. It’s been said that honey bees are the golden retrievers of the stinging insects. And it’s true, as honey bees could usually not care less about you. You'll get an idea of how to get started, where to get bees, what tools and protective clothing are needed, and what types of bee boxes are available and recommended. Finally, you’ll get to taste raw honey from the hive, and watch it get removed from the comb in a big honey extractor.
Glen Andresen’s life changed in unimagined ways when an old-time beekeeper introduced him to the art, craft and science of keeping bees…and so began a lifetime fascination with the wonder and magic of honey bees. Glen has been keeping bees in his own backyard in northeast Portland since 1992 and in other people’s backyards since 2002. Last year, his city bees produced more than 3,600 pounds of honey. He teaches backyard organic beekeeping classes through Portland Community College. In 2013, Glen co-founded Bridgetown Bees, a project to raise locally adapted honey bee queens in Portland.
Beekeeper protective gear Clothing includes head and face protection, gloves, and jacket.
We'll be meeting at Glen's home apiary in Northeast Portland, which usually has up to a couple of dozen hives of honey bees. Glen also has an extensive (and intensive!) home garden with some 40 fruit trees (many espaliered in the Belgian fence style), ten raised vegetable beds, raspberries, Marionberries, strawberries, and blueberries--all on a city lot that measures 60 by 100 feet.
Guests with known bee sting allergies or sensitivities should proceed with caution. Also, guests should refrain from wearing open-toed shoes, as bees have a knack for crawling on shoes!