Urban beekeeping

The practice of beekeeping is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, with the rising trend of urban beekeeping seen in cities all over the world. T V personality Britt Van Marsenille is among the pioneer beekeepers in Belgium. In this blog we share a snippet of the article, which can be found in Issue 15.

“When I’m working with the bees, I instantly notice how calm I become. My thoughts focus only on the bees. You need to be very much in the moment; you have to be calm and move consciously when you are working with bees, so in that respect it’s all very Zen. Other people go sit on a yoga mat, and I go to my bees. By listening to their sounds I can tell if they are having a good day or a bad day. When they’re in a bad mood, they hum a bit higher and louder. Sometimes I close the door again and think, ‘I’ll come back tomorrow.’ But there are also days that I leave the door open for hours.

The species that I’m keeping is the Carniolan honey bee, and they are friendly bees. But at the end of the season when the nectar is running out, they can get kind of cranky, which is fair enough. And yes, occasional bee stings are part of the job. That doesn’t diminish the beauty of the experience I have working with them. Lighting a fire with my smoker for example, with a bit of cardboard and tobacco, is really fun. Smoke calms the bees down—that’s why we beekeepers are always blowing smoke over the open hive. “But the very best part is harvesting the honey. Taking the frames out of the unit, carefully brushing the bees back into the hive with a feather, releasing the wax seal the bees put on the honey chambers, putting the frame in the spinner and spinning the honey. The fresh honey just drips out. I stick my finger in to taste it and it’s heavenly! So unbelievably delicious. And really good for you.”

You can find the rest of the article in Issue 15, which is available in our online shop.

Text Chris Muyres Photograpy Caroline Coehorst