Other Leslie Stuff
Oh that’s a lotta honeybees…
When not writing, talking, researching and living in the vast pool of technological jargon that lives and grows in cable television, satellite and broadband networks, Leslie is a passionate advocate for honeybees.
Yes, honeybees. In 2011, she became a beekeeper, after reading about the unexplained and vast losses in the honeybee population, worldwide.
Within the same year, she directed and produced a documentary film about backyard/urban beekeepers, called “BEE PEOPLE.” Here’s an IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2459578/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1,
…and here’s a link to a wonderful piece in Denver’s city paper, Westword: http://bit.ly/12CYd4o),
Leslie’s first package of honeybees. About 12,000 of’em, in that box.
In the same year, she co-founded and serves as president of a beekeeping club for women, called Women Who Bee (website under construction; stay tuned.) Interesting honeybee fact (among zillions of interesting honeybee facts): Every hive of honeybees is 95% female. Combine that with the large and growing number of women choosing to become backyard beekeepers, and voila – a club was born.
It’s all about encouraging people to become backyard beekeepers. A beehive every two miles, that’s the goal – for Denver, for Colorado, for the U.S., for the planet. Why every two miles? Honeybees gather pollen and nectar in a 2-3 mile radius from their hive. As they do this, they pollinate everything within. Did you know? One out of every three things on your dinner plate wouldn’t exist, without honeybees. Without them, we’re left with wind-pollinated crops – oats, corn, wheat.
Yes, they will occasionally sting you. Yes, that part sucks.
Bee paradise! Denver is in a state of drought most of the time. Converting water-slurping grass to wildflowers looks great, and feeds the bees. But look closely…what else do you see in this photo?
No, you are not “allergic” if the place where you got stung gets hot and swollen and red and unbelievably itchy. Get over it! It will last about a week. Getting stung is an inevitable byproduct of the truly necessary work to nourish and protect the honeybee. (That said, always keep an epi-pen on hand. You’ll need a prescription. Ask your doctor or even your dentist. They’ll hook you up.)
No, honeybees are not the bees that invade your picnic or trashcan – those are yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets.
No, honeybees will not attack you if you walk near their hive, or even if they land on your sleeve. They are singly focused on their work, and will not mess with you unless you mess with them.
Besides: The payback far outweighs the nuisance and itchiness of bee stings. There’s the honey, of course. Leslie keeps two hives (2 are legal in Denver; check your city/county rules to get started), and in the first two years, collected three gallons of honey – from the first hive only (hive #2 hadn’t established itself enough by fall of 2012 to harvest what they’d need to get through winter.)
A frame of bees from Queen Maggie’s hive. That’s a lotta bees!
Beyond the honey, there’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping an endangered species. Plus it’s just a wonderful thing to take a chair and a glass of wine out to the hives at dusk, to watch the girls finish their daily work.
Join the buzz! Keep bees. You’ll join a community that dates back to Mesopotamia. Honeybees have nourished our planet for 80 million years. They’re dying in vast quantities, and nobody really knows why. Best way to help out? Put a beehive in your backyard. Just do it. Thanks.