By John Voket
I have always kept an eye on practices homeowners can adopt that will not only improve the value and appearance of their property, but will also improve their neighborhoods, communities, their own family's health and the environment.
Perhaps there are fewer things a homeowner can do to impact their property and their world is to consider housing and maintaining a small beehive.
Why keep bees? Christy Hemenway, author of "The Thinking Beekeeper," and founder of Gold Star Honeybees in Vermont says there is a bit of magic to bees.
She says establishing a low-maintenance hive tucked away in the corner of the yard will enhance the resurgence of a dwindling bee population, while providing robust pollination to flowering plants around one's home and landscape.
She believes bee Colony Collapse Disorder, as reported in the news recently, is absolutely connected to toxins being put into the environment. And Hemenway's solution is her signature top bar hives.
They allow bees to make their own wax without a foundation—a piece of plastic coated with wax, embossed with hexagons. Some hexagons in the top bar comb are sized for food storage (honey), while others are for raising young bees.
Hemenway says beekeeping is not labor intensive—owners can spend as little as an hour a week simply performing inspections.
Her premiere product is the Deluxe Top Bar Hive kit, with every part is included, down to the glass observation window. All the owner must do is assemble the hive using a screwdriver and staple gun.
Deluxe Top Bar Hive kits come in the New Englander Model, with its black roof for colder climates and the Arizona Model, with a white roof, for where it's warmer. Hemenway's other two top bar hive kits allow for beekeepers who enjoy the craft of woodworking to be more involved in the process of building their bees' new home.
She has recently made the Gold Star Top Bar Hive kit plans available as a .pdf file as well. To learn more about backyard beekeeping, top bar hives, and more, visit GoldStarHoneyBees.com.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.