The Honey Co-op Launch

The idea for beekeeping has taken on new dimensions in the past 24 hours. What went from one hive, located on the roof of the building where I work, just went up to two hives.

I explained it in an email to about 15 people. Text of the email is below, and provides some useful background as to how this is all getting started. Within the past 5 minutes of it getting sent out, I’ve had 5 people get “shares.” Most want double-shares.

Hello friends, colleagues, neighbors, and fellow nature lovers:

Happy almost-summertime!

I write you today with bee-licious proposal. I’d like you to join a Honey Co-Op. All you have to do is invest $20 towards the purchase of the bees and the boxes in which they will be housed. I’ll raise the bees and make the honey. 🙂
In the fall, hopefully, once the bees have done all their pollinating for the year, we’ll have a wonderful bounty of honey to share in together.

Yields vary considerably, and are generally lower in a hive’s first year, and I’m still a novice beekeeper. So don’t expect to be swimming in honey. But, I think the rewards still will be great. Hopefully you’ll each get at least two or three pounds worth, this year. In addition to just great tasting honey, having local honey is really good for building up immunity to pollen allergies, plus you’ll have the privilege of hearing updates from me, the pride of being an investor in a novel enterprise, limited bee-visitation rights, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping the ecosystem in NW Washington DC.

The background:
The rationale for the honey co-op is based on very sound reasoning. 1 + 1 = 3. Our co-op hive will be kept next to the official School of International Service bee hive. Having two hives, of course, is way better than just one hive, not only because it means more honey, but because it functions as a sort of insurance policy and comparison case for the other hive. With two hives, you can switch frames around, have greater ease in re-queening, and, without getting to technical about it, all-in-all do better beekeeping. The apiaries will be kept on the roof of the SIS building. This has gotten the thumbs-up from all the various campus risk management and sustainability people. The SIS building, by the way, is a LEED-gold certified building, and quite a wonderful space, and the campus actually has arboretum status, so these will be very happy bees. The SIS honey bees arrive on Monday. Not sure yet when these co-op bees will arrive but I’m pursuing a lead on a package of them actively, and will be scrambling to get their box set up soon. I hope you’ll join in the fun with us!

Special thanks go to Joe Clapper, who has been incredibly supportive of this endeavor, and who just this morning became one of the initial co-op members! Thanks too to my neighbors and friends, Walter, Tim, and Joe, who also forked over money for memberships, on the spot, last night. Tim is already planning on making mead… this co-op will get very interesting, very quickly, as you can well imagine. I am shooting to keep the co-op down to between 15 and 20 people at this point. (beekeeping expenses for start up will run about $350). Plus later honey bottling costs and miscellany… as this gets official I’ll run this all through a separate account. As of now I am making things up as I go.