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VOL. 1 SPRING 2012

mellifera the manifesto

Mellifera is a magazine for modern apiarists, and you are now holding our inaugural edition — an issue that coincides with our first fall honey harvest season. Beekeeping is the world’s second oldest profession and has been receiving new attention recently due to a shift in cultural values from what is fast and easy to that which has higher permanence of quality and is best for our own health and happiness. Mellifera is for those who understand that the process is often equally as rewarding as the product itself. It is for those who need a break from the lifestyle of instant gratification that

has become so ubiquitous these days. As our society relearns to value locally grown produce and more mindful lifestyles, historically rich occupations such as beekeeping are among the first to be revitalized. This is evidenced by recent political changes, such as the legalization of beekeeping in cities like New York and Philadelphia. By focusing on small—scale artisanal beekeeping that can be done in your backyard or in any urban garden, Mellifera will function as a handbook for the beginning beekeeper and urban apiary enthusiast alike. Our readers will benefit from the calming process of cultivating , extracting and harvesting honey as well as the rewards of the honey and wax. With constant attention to the mythology of apiary culture, every element of Mellifera, from the features and the photography to the general aesthetic will be consistent with our goal of providing a new generation of apiarists with a simple, lasting resource that, like the ancient trade of beekeeping, will function as a heirloom, growing in value, to be passed on to future generations.


beekeeping basics

mellifera magazine by becca dunn

issue 1 ad designs

bartley boswell

07 12 gabe will

gina nelson

fall 12

05 06

an urban apiarist o ne h


is finrom saovannenyadhipbee csou.e cluded in this is

13 14

16 04

THE BASICS New hives should be set up during the spring, when the queen begins her egg buildup and flowers begin to bud . New beekeepers should order their bees as a package , which contains approximately 10,000 bees, a queen, and attendants for the queen. You may also order a nucleus package, which includes five frames, bees, started foundation, and a laying Queen. The drawback to a nucleus package is a higher price and more shipping restrictions . Once the bees are ordered and on their way, you’ll need to start constructing bee boxes and preparing supplies .


the necessary gear 1 a veil for face protection

find a veil that falls precisely at your shoulders

2 protective overalls

buy overalls made of thick material

3 gloves

find gloves that are lightweight, thick, and flexible






hive tool

wear calf-length rubber boots with traction pick a smoker with a large bellow for easier use



how to make your own beeboxes

you will need several pieces of lumber, woodworking tools, and a thin strip of beeswax First you will have to construct a large open box with straight boards for the bottom & end and the two sides sloping towards the bottom . The hive body is v-shaped, to keep bees from attaching their comb to the walls, which would prevent you from lifting the bar out of the hive . Keep in mind that the box must be long enough to accommodate the bars for the honey combs .

Next, make a removable top for the box and . bars long enough to fit across the top widthwise Position the bars so that they are 3.5 cm . or slightly further apart, so that the bees have enough room to make their honeycombs . Make sure that the openings aren’t large enough for predators to get through. Add the strip of beeswax to the bottom edge of every bar .

h th ow e b to ee a bo lig xe n s

make four of these boxes to accomodate your colony


Did you know that local honey is a natural cure for seasonal allergies, or that pure honey is one of the oldest natural cosmetics? Besides providing a delicious addition to any kitchen, honey from your bees can also be used in a variety of remedies & beauty goods.


LIP BALM 1 cup beeswax 4 oz. coconut oil 2.5 oz. honey 2.5 oz. vanilla

In two separate steel pots, simultaneously heat the beeswax and the coconut oil over low heat to 150ËšF . Combine the coconut oil and the beeswax, then remove both of the pans from the heat and stir until they are well mixed. Next, add your honey and the vanilla extract and continue to stir until thoroughly blended. Transfer your mixture to small containers , allow them to cool for about three hours, then cap them and store them at room temperature, far away from any extreme temperatures and direct sunlight .



1/2 cup cocoa butter 4 tbsp. avocado oil 1/2 cup beeswax 1/2 tsp. fragrance

Melt all the ingredients (except the fragrance) in a 2 quart pan. Stir constantly until the beeswax is melted & everything is blended. Do not heat the mixture to over 120ËšF (using a candy thermometer) . Add the fragrance, pour the liquid into a clean container and cool it over night .



1 tbsp. grated beeswax 1 tbsp. shea butter 2 tbsp. sweet almond oil 8 to 10 drops fragrance

Prepare two 2 oz. glass or ceramic containers with lids. Combine the wax, shea butter, and almond oil in a double boiler over medium heat , and stir until mixed. Remove from the heat and add the fragrance oil , stirring until the mixture cools and thickens. Pour into containers and let the perfume cool until it’s solid .




1 tbs. chamomile flowers 1 tbsp. dried rose buds 1 tbsp. ground oatmeal 2/3 cup boiling water 1 tsp. fresh honey 1 tbsp. wheat bran

Place the chamomile and roses in a bowl and pour boiling water over them . Cool the mixture until it is lukewarm, then strain it. Combine honey, oatmeal bran and chamomile/rose infusion in small amounts, blending them together to form a sticky paste. Apply evenly to face, leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse .







For most city dwellers, the empty, abandoned strip of land between Owens Field & the USC stadium was little more than a polluted eyesore. For Randy Moore, it was an opportunity to teach his community to take control of the environment one hive at a time .

What are the benefits of having an urban apiary? Well, there are many benefits to having an apiary in an urban environment. First, bee colonies need virtually no space to produce large quantities of honey and wax every autumn. Apiaries are a wonderful way to teach the public about sustainability as well as the importance of caring for our local environment . Honey produced by local bees is also a remedy for allergies — but only if that honey originates from within 50 miles of your home , so the more local the honey the better. Our honey is made exclusively by bees that dwell within the city of Columbia. The jars are labeled by postal code, and every bottle captures the unique flavors of each of our apiary locations. Urban honeybees forage rooftop gardens and window boxes, community gardens, and city parks to produce complex, delicious honey . What problems have you had in establishing the apiary? There is a certain amount of irrational fear that most people have when it comes to the subject of bees, so obviously there was some trepidation from the community at first. Also, the location of our first hive (pictured) was in an industrial zoned area, and we had to go in front of City Council to get an exception to permit us to use the land for hives, which seemed a little bit ridiculous considering that we were moving onto a plot of land between a landfill and an asphalt plant — the bees wouldn’t exactly be a threat to the neighbors’ land. But once we got the zoning worked out and proved that our hives would actually benefit , the community there weren’t any problems with our plan to set up more rooftop hives downtown and on the USC campus .


What is something that few people know about beekeeping? Most people don’t consider the fact that honey comes from different sources, and that these different sources can produce radically different flavors . Depending on the time of the season and changes in available plants for the bees to pollinate, honey can range from a dark golden color with very sweet flavor to light green with a minty taste (as a result of early season pollination from Linden trees). One of the most exciting aspects of harvesting honey is trying to guess what kind of flavors are going to come from a certain batch . Are you at all alarmed by the rising number of urban beekeepers? For a short answer, no. I welcome any and all newcomers to the field, be they recreational beekeepers or more professional. The beautiful thing about beekeeping is that bees migrate from hive to hive based on how well maintained and safe the environment is. Beekeeping is very much one of those “survival of the fittest” occupations. The more hives there are in an area, the healthier the plant life will be, and the more bees will be attracted to the locale . After that, it is really up to the beekeeper to attract and maintain the colonies . I think that the more attention that beekeeping gets, the better. During the early 2000’s, there was a general panic that bees were dying out from some mysterious colony collapse disorder. Generally, anyone who puts in the time and effort to create their own hives is probably doing it for the right reasons .

the rise of

urban beekeeping

there has

been a


increase in urban

beekeeping in the last 2 years


of honey in the U.S.

comes from

backyard hives

in london it is

estimated that bees outnumber humans

3 to 1

season during the summer

HOMEMADE HONEY CHAI to make chai base: in medium saucepan , combine 2 cups of water, 2 black tea bags , 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon , 1⁄2 tsp. ginger, 1⁄2 tsp. allspice, & 1⁄2 cup honey. bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. remove from heat , cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes . remove tea bags, cover & refrigerate . to serve: combine equal parts base to milk, & heat .


Mellifera Magazine  

A Magazine about Urban Beekeeping Created by Rebecca Dunn in Spring 2012 for Prof. Nace's Series Development & Practice course at the Univer...

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