The buzz on beekeeping in Spokane

Like the bee population in Spokane, the amount of beekeepers continues to grow. Last weekend, Tate’s Honey Farm saw 450 beekeepers pick up 9.5 million bees to start the season.

Tate’s Honey Farm owner Jerry Tate said, “it just kept getting bigger and bigger. On average, our local club, in the last 10 years, on average, has trained over 120 new beekeepers every year.”

Bees help gardens flourish, and can be beneficial to allergy sufferers and keeps balance in the ecosystem.

“I think it has a lot to do with people being more conscious of the environment today,” added Jerry.

No matter the reason for choosing to start a backyard beehive, Tate, who’s been beekeeping since childhood, advises taking a class on the basics.

“In the City of Spokane, you are required to be a certified beginning beekeeper,” he explained. “We have a certificate they get for that.”

In some other areas of the Inland Northwest, beekeepers are required to register their bees.

Then comes the hard part, says Jerry, the assembling and maintenance of the hive.

“At about the 5th of July they are all ready. We put the honey supers on and as I say that’s when it’s time to go fishing, go on vacation,” he added. At the end of beekeeping season, beekeepers in Spokane walk away, on average, with 75 pounds of honey.