Bee-ing There for the Bees

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

Since 2011, when having bees became legal in Oak Park, the practice of keeping a backyard apiary here has taken flight.

That is a very beneficial thing for all of us, especially considering the plight of the honeybee in the last decade or so.  The United States Department of Agriculture USDA says it continues to be a mystery, and potentially devastating, in that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) "is a serious problem threatening the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States.
In addition, despite a number of claims in the general and scientific media, says the USDA, a cause or causes of CCD have not been identified by researchers.
Because of that, many gardeners are beginning to do something tangible for the bees.
Earlier this year I actually took an intro to beekeeping class , and have been filling my landscape with pollinator attracting flowers, fruits, herbs and veggies.  
Recently, when I was invited to take a road trip to Wayne, IL to step into the rural bee "out yard" of Oak Park beekeeper Harry Patterson, I, of course, was all abuzz about bee-ing there.
Beforehand, I found out that Harry has been a beekeeper for 30 years, going nose to stinger with bees in hives from Kane and DuPage County to here, the County of Cook.  
On Saturday, August 23, "Harry the Beekeeper" will be one of the hands on attractions in Batavia at Red Oak's Nature Center's free family event, BugFest, which he says is geared to elementary age Kids.
If you miss that, be ready to run into this award-winning teacher, and Master's-level outdoor educator year-round giving his "Life of a Beekeeper" talk at local libraries, garden clubs, nursing homes and special interest group meetings.
He also enjoys sharing his love of bees at schools, nature centers, and now with little 'ole me, an urban gardener who in that moment became mesmerized by that buzzing hum of 80,000 of them.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

3 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

In Glen Ellyn formerly from OP  

Posted: August 19th, 2014 11:22 AM

What a wonderful creature and creature community, the bee and bee hive. Thanks go to Harry Patterson for giving back to the community by helping the bees help us. Thank-you, Deb McCarey, for reporting on this wonderful topic, and so clearly, with the video. I'd almost rather be a productive cooperative bee truly working for a living in the midsts of natural settings than be a self-destructive human, killing any interlopers in our dirtied eden, poisoned by our desperate self-serving fears.

Don Nekrosius from Oak Park  

Posted: August 19th, 2014 9:11 AM

There's an itinerant bee man down at the end of the road whose 100 hive boxes have been servicing the local crops, especially the cranberry bogs. His bees have been busy here in garden and meadow and it's plain neat to see their little cargo pant pockets bulging with pollen. When I see a bee in Oak Park, I am grateful to the local apiarist who's taken up the challenge of hosting a hive or two. It's a honey of a hobby.

Sherene Kallevik Lyon from Sugar Grove, Illinois  

Posted: August 18th, 2014 8:28 PM

Enjoyed the bee keeping video immensely. It is important to make people aware of the importance of bees in the ecosystem.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad