Kirkobeeo started beekeeping in 1970 in Utah. He ordered his first
package of bees from the Montgomery Ward catalog. Since then,
he’s had beehives intermittently, but he always “loved those bugs!”
In 1999, Kirk got the bee fever again. Since he now lived in Los Angeles in an
apartment with no yard, he had to find a spot for a beehive. He located a nearby
community garden and put a beehive in it. He discovered that beekeeping had
gotten complicated since he last had beehives. It was expected that all sorts of
chemicals and medications had to be put in beehives to handle mites and such.
He disagreed with this idea. He knew it was much better to let the bees be bees.
He researched beekeeping and found the writings of Charles Martin Simon, who
talked about beekeeping backwards and small cell honeycombs. He also found
Michael Bush and Dee Lusby, who practiced this same sort of beekeeping. He
began handling his hives using these concepts.
He had a couple of hives in the community garden, but he needed more room
so he could start more hives. He borrowed a bright idea, put up a website and
posted that he needed people to “sponsor a beehive” in their backyard.
To his surprise, not only did he get sponsors, he also got people who said,
“We don’t want to sponsor a hive, we want to become beekeepers!” He began
teaching others small cell, backwards beekeeping. These new beekeepers formed
the group Backwards Beekeepers and started a Backwards Beekeepers Yahoo!
group (which now has 650 members).
Backwards Beekeepers in the LA area now number in the hundreds. Beekeepers
in other parts of the country are also becoming Backwards Beekeepers. Currently,
Kirk mentors new beekeepers, tends his 25 beehives and sells chemical-free
honey whenever his bees supply it.
copyright 2011 Kirk’s Urban Bees
Kirkobeeo with his favorite cactus