Backyard Chickens and Keeping Honeybees

| 6/20/2012 3:35:52 PM

Honeybees returning to the hive after foraging for pollen

I never had considered keeping bees.  As I learned of serious challenges they faces in our world today, I began to think about keeping a hive or two on our property.  It has been estimated that one in every three bites of food we consume is possible through the work of honeybees.  The importance of their work and existence was taken for granted for years.  Today, their existence is vulnerable and scientists are finally dedicating research efforts to ensure their survival for future generations.

Four years ago I discovered that our town not only welcomes the keeping of bees, but also has a local association that offers an introductory class.  This past Winter as snow fell on the ground, I immersed myself in everything bees including taking their course.

One of the biggest questions that I had prior starting out on my honey bee keeping journey had to do with how the chickens and the bees will coexist in my yard.  I was nervous.  I knew nothing about keeping bees, yet I knew a lot about keeping chickens.  I wondered to myself.  Will the bees sting the chickens?  Will the chickens bother the beehives?  What will happen if the bees swarm?  Can my chickens still free range in the yard with beehives present?

I have read beekeeping books cover to cover multiple times and I've been busy browsing the internet for videos and resources. The learning curve has been huge.  I feel as though I have learned so much yet have only touched the tip of the iceberg.  I look forward to attending each new class.  When I'm there, my mind is no longer focused on kids' homework, laundry and dinner plans, but on the intricacies of colony life and the hive.

Apparently, bees and chickens can get along famously.

Mary Murray
6/27/2012 3:04:43 AM

This is just what I've been looking for...perfect timing; thank you! We also have chickens, and after a year of reading and working with our local beekeepers assn. I decided it was time to get our own bees. The hive is painted and waiting for the nuc to arrive. I have been concerned about how bees and chickens will work together, and your article has helped so much. Although they're not placed closely, turning the hive SE will point it toward the chicken coop...I've been concerned about that. Thanks again, I'm looking forward to learning more and reading about your adventures! -Mary

6/25/2012 2:45:44 PM

Melissa, I have space for bees but just don't want the work involved with tending the hives. I am hopeful to find some one who will be willing to put some hives on my garden property and take care of them. I really wouldn't want the honey so much but it would be a benefit to have bees close to the garden. Of course if I should get a jar or two of the golden nectar offered to me, I wouldn't refuse. :0) Have a great beekeeper day and I'm looking forward to reading about your bee journey.

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