Interested in becoming a Colorado backyard Beekeeper? Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, you’ve heard of the steady decline of the honey bee population across the country. It’s been on Facebook, movies, Twitter, and YouTube. We are losing the species that keep our flowers healthy and honey flowing to pesticides, mites, killer bees, and loss of habitat.
But many Coloradoans are fighting back with backyard hives. From one little hive to whole farms, amateur beekeepers are popping up all over the state and if you’d like to join them, here are a few bits of advice before you run out to get your first queen.
Colorado State Beekeeper Association
The Colorado State Beekeeper Association is a huge resource for anyone wanting to start their own honey production. Incorporated in 1888, the CSBA is the oldest beekeeping organization in Colorado and covers all of the other associations in the state. If you are wanting to do your research and become a knowledgeable keeper, the CSBA is for you.
Not only do they have regular events and classes for anyone wanting to improve their skills, they have an entire section on their site devoted to prospective keepers. As a newbie, you can find an answer to just about any question you may have. From BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES to ALTERNATIVE POLLINATORS, the abundance of resources are amazing! There is a section where you can connect with other keepers to share knowledge and stories.
CSBA also works as a connection to local and state level administration to help keep bees and their continued existence in the public eye. There is probably no better source for a new Colorado Beekeeper.
Colorado Beekeeper Regulations
Just as with anything else, it is important to find out if your city and/or HOA will allow you to keep bees in your backyard. Many municipalities, although sympathetic to the plight of the lowly honeybee, have strict rules about where they can be kept and how many hives can be stored on one piece of property. Although there used to be mandatory regulation, licensing, and inspections, the laws have since been reduced to what amounts to Zoning Ordinances.
Speak Openly with Your Neighbors
As with keeping any “out-of-the-norm” pets, it’s always a great idea to have a conversation with your neighbors about your soon to be apiary. Most people will probably applaud you for helping with the lowered bee population, but if the couple next to you have severe allergic reactions to bees, you could face some problems. As always, be respectful of those around you and help to educate them or see if they want to join you. You might get lucky and start a local group.
We all need to do something to keep our ecosystem healthy and balanced. The deterioration of honey bee hives in the US has the potential to do major damage if left unchecked. Hopefully, you, the potential beekeeper, will have a lot of fun and be doing a great service for everyone.