You may have seen "Urban Beekeeping" listed in the BCAE course catalog for a while now, but do you know what "Urban Beekeeping" really entails? Up until recently, I didn't. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to get an inside "staff" look at what one of our more unusual classes. Behind the Scenes: Urban Beekeeping with Boston's Best Bees!
Best Bees is located in Boston's South End, right by Boston Medical Center. Believe it or not, it actually shares building space with an auto body shop! Odd combo, right? But it makes more sense than you might think. Both businesses need outdoor as well as indoor space, and both tend to be, well, messy. The fact that the place is home to thousands of bees and their honey is readily apparent (and all the more fascinating).
Coming around back (behind the auto body show) to the Best Bees entrance, it is hard to immediately realize what you're seeing. Nestled next to a couple rows of parked cars are row upon row of wooden hives, swarming with bees - the busiest we'd ever see them we were told!
They were everywhere! While slightly terrifying for bee-fearing folk like me, despite immediate assurances that the bees were non-aggressive, the shear amount of lively buzzing activity was enthralling.
We then ventured inside what feels very much like a Best Bees "workshop," complete with a fully functioning kitchen just for our BCAE beekeeping students. We got up close and personal with the product of the busy, buzzing hives - fresh, sweet, local HONEY! We tasted it right from the honeycomb, already perfectly deliciously sweet...sticky on our fingers (and on the bottoms of our shoes).
Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Noah Wilson-Rich, gave us the tour, weaving through stacks of hives while telling us all about starting the business, the booming success of it all, and a lot of fun and interesting facts about bees. Check out Noah's book, The Bee: A Natural History, for bee facts and much more. All students who take the class get loads of this bee knowledge, some hands-on experience, and to take home a beehive frame like Noah is holding above (without the honeycomb), beeswax lip balm, and honey (when in season).
Craftiness taken to another level: the shelves featured above left were hand-built as well, just like the kitchen counter! And don't worry - there are plenty of protective suits for safety when handling the hives directly.
Looking to upgrade your urban beekeping experience? Best Bees' "Resident Artist" has designed hand-painted equipment in stunning color and detail. These can sell for a pretty penny but are truly works of art.
Thank you to the kind and welcoming Best Bees team for showing us around their fascinatingly cool space and teaching us things we never knew before! Don't pass up an opportunity to see them in action - sign up now to take Urban Beekeeping! The next sessions are Thursday, June 11th and Thursday, August 13th.