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Welcome Local iQ readers!

5 Aug

Thanks for reading the beekeeping article in this week’s Local iQ. Welcome to my personal beekeeping website.

Interested in Albuquerque beekeeping? Here are some resources:

Or, if you’re just looking for a website, here’s my consulting firm.


My glamour girls featured in Local iQ

5 Aug
Photo by Joy Godfrey

Photo by Joy Godfrey

Oh my! Me and the 40,000 vixens that call my backyard home are bashfully giddy about our feature in this week’s Local iQ. If it looks like we (me and the bees) are in love with each other, it’s because we are! Over the past 3 years, beekeeping has become one of the simple joys in my otherwise high-tech life.

“Bees are a reminder of our interdependence on one another,” Foster said in a recent interview. She elaborated that having bees in her life has changed the way she looks at nature. “I notice the rhythms now.”

Read the full article at Local iQ

Thanks to writer Kay Vinson and photographer Joy Godfrey for checking out my girls and learning more about Albuquerque’s amazing community of local beekeepers.

Everything Guide to Urban Honey

13 Jul

Local chef and co-owner of Jennifer James 101 (they use our honey at the restaurant!) dropped off this sumptuous article on urban beekeeping yesterday: The Everything Guide to Urban Honey.

Informative and artistic, it’s a convincing testimony that urban beekeeping is back and here to stay.

From the series:

Are bees dangerous to Albuquerque?

7 Jul

Psst… got bees swarming on your property? Report a bee swarm in Albuquerque.

Scarlett the bee dog

"Bee dog" photo by Erik Abderhalden | Find more adorable dogs in bee costumes at


Asking whether bees are dangerous is like asking whether dogs are dangerous when the reality is this: Dogs bite.

In fact, in the U.S. 1000 people every day seek emergency treatment for dog bites. And the cost of managing canines is a significant burden on a community.

Even in Albuquerque, one of the top 3 calls to the City’s 311 line relates to reporting, complaining, or otherwise managing our urban dog population. (I used to manage the City website, that’s how I know ;-)) The unfortunate truth is our furry best friends can be a big fat headache. But we love them, and some might argue need them.

So too with honeybees, another species long domesticated by humans and one we’ve come to depend upon. The benefits of bees to a community, a recent article in the NY Times (via Sweet Hive Chicago) discusses, far outweigh the risks.  Here’s why:

  • Free pollination by bees supports our entire agricultural system (In NM, you can’t even ask the state question “Red or Green?” without the help of a honeybee.)
  • Local honey may help with allergies
  • Urban honey has less chemicals than rural honey
  • Bees act as an indicator of overall health (Did you know they use bees to test air quality at German airports?)

[Read the full article]

So hug a honeybee, compadres. And if you’re allergic, stay away from wasps which tend to be responsible for most “bee attacks” in the populated areas we call home, sweet, home.

Albuquerque Councilors heart the honey bee

21 Jun
If the smiles on the faces of every single City Councilor were any indication, tonight’s honey tasting and Pollinator Week Proclamation was a beautiful success!
Preparing our honey tasting strategy before the Council meeting Beekeeper on the stand
ABQ City Council gives love to local honeybees ABQ City Council gives love to local honeybees
Thanks to Councilor Debbie O’Malley for issuing the proclamation and for inviting local beekeepers to share tiny jars of our urban honey. There were some serious good vibes for honey bees tonight and the supportive response was palpable in the council chambers.

Politicos Kick Off Pollinator Week in Albuquerque

20 Jun

It’s time to go hug a honeybee for National Pollinator Week.

Last week, Albuquerque Councilor O’Malley did just that — she donned a bee veil and came on down to the beehives I manage as a volunteer for City Open Space. We tasted a golden buttery honey right off the comb and talked about how bees contribute to our local economy (seriously, you can’t even ask the state question without honeybees). For me, it was an honor to share my hives with an elected official, especially one so concerned with quality of life in our city. Here are a few photos of “beekeeper” O’Malley and her crew:

"Beekeeper" O'Malley & her staff "Beekeeper" O'Malley
IMG_4022-1 IMG_4023-1
[View more photos]

Thanks to Councilor O’Malley, the week-long pollinator party is getting started with a honey tasting and proclamation during Monday’s City Council meeting. If you’re a beekeeper, friend of bees, or just a honey afficionado, come on down!

And if you can’t come tonight, consider checking out these other events occuring throughout Albuquerque.


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Sweet! Google installs bee hives at its world HQ

5 Jun
The Google beehives

The Google beehives

While Facebook makes headlines this week with its cultish secret insignia, its more mature competitor Google consistently opts for the high road, installing for example, 4 new bee hives on its property in Mountain View, CA.

What a perfect match! Google & the bee hive: Both are (or create) systems where the aggregate of individual behaviors produces something otherwise impossible or uninspiring. Honey, in the case of the hive and brilliantly pragmatic tools or groundbreaking systems like Android, in the case of Google.

Me and my little hives tucked away on the edge of America are so grateful! Just think of all the high-profile attention these newest beekeepers will bring to the challenges facing honey bees in our modern world.

My new Serge Labesque hive

31 May

Ventilation is not what most new beeks consider when crafting their first bee hive. But that’s just what Sonoma beekeeper, and my personal favorite philosophe des abeilles, Serge Labesque recommends to keep your hives healthy.

After 2 seasons keeping bees, I couldn’t agree more. Even in the American Southwest, known for being dry as a bleached cattle bone, I find condensation, mildew, and even lichens each spring after opening our hives. To me, the girls don’t need more insulation, they actually need less.

In fact, a survey I conducted with local beekeepers in 2010 shows that nearly twice as many beeks winterize their hives by ensuring there’s adequate ventilation than by suffocating their dames with a downy blanket.

From the 2010 Albuquerque Beekeepers Survey

But Serge Labesque takes ventiliation to a whole ‘nother level by leaving his hive bodies unpainted, save for the joints. As he described at last year’s NM Beekeeping Summer Seminar, the idea is that unpainted wood can breathe, allowing the bees to have more control over ventilation. Here’s what Labesque’s hives look like.

And so voila! We’ve decided to go au naturel this season, leaving our new boxes unpainted. We simply bought unassembled hive bodies from Mann Lake, uncorked a bottle of champagne one Friday night and set to work.

Learn more:

New online tool for tracking bee hives

11 May

I don’t know about you, but tracking hives with paper and pen seems awfully…. well, 20th century.

And thus I’m thrilled to find out that someone’s built just the app I’ve been looking for!

Beetight: Online Hive Tracking

This weekend I plan to give it a whirl. Are you already using Beetight? Let me know how you like it…

Backyard + beehive photoshoot with Local iQ

23 Apr

UPDATE: My girls were featured in an even more recent issue of Local iQ with photos by Joy Godfrey. Enjoy!

I’m still blushing, it was such a chic morning.

On location (that location being my backyard) for Local iQ magazine, Albuquerque photographer Wes Naman was tramping about the garden this morning shooting things like the mural by Quip, the beehive, and a crumbly-ass Fu Manchu statue I picked up one summer in the South Valley. Editor Kevin Hopper was on site too and was genteel enough not to notice all the weeds and wacky detritus emblematic of a lazy gardener like me.

Look for the girls and/or the garden in next week’s issue of Local IQ.

Honeybee covergirls Honeybee covergirls>
Local IQ in my garden Pipe down now