Given my own experiences as a failed beekeeper, I have been interested in concerns being voiced recently about "bee bling"—or the notion that companies and individuals are jumping on the bee bandwagon, buying hives, without really knowing how to care for them.
So it's in this context that I was fascinated to hear about Eco Honeybees, a Virginia-based company that rents out hives to businesses and schools in the DC area, and sells them to families, and then comes back on a regular basis to monitor and care for the hives in question.
Here's how co-founder Larry Marling explained the concept to me by email:
"In a nutshell, we're the only company in the country that will bring a fully stocked custom beehive to someone's home or business, set it up, and then come back every 3-4 weeks throughout the year to maintain it to ensure it's health. What we've done is create a new school of beekeeping. In the past, if you had a beehive, you were a beekeeper. With Eco Honeybees, our clients are hive owners. We do all the work and our clients get to sit back in lawn furniture and enjoy watching their bees knowing all the while that they are doing something very positive for the environment."
The company has been attracting media attention from German network ARD, and a segment will air tonight on Al Jazeera's The Stream too. Tough love beekeeping this ain't, but it may be a way to let enthusiastic amateurs show their love for bees while getting the experienced, expert tutelage of beekeepers who know what they are doing.
Head over to Eco Honeybees to find out more.