A chance to get your beekeeping hobby really buzzing

O'Neal with some of the actual bees in question.

Do beekeeping and sustainability hold a special place in your heart? Did you think Macaulay Culkin got what was coming to him at the end of My Girl? Do you look up to this guy? Big Apple Apiary is looking for 12 volunteer apprentices to tend brand new hives on a Brooklyn Navy Yard roof during the 2012 bee season, April through October or November. Applications are due March 21. “This apprenticeship isn’t for the faint of heart,” Borough Bee’s Timothy O’Neal told us. “The time commitment is a serious one, and it takes some real passion to be willing to stick your hands in a box of 80,000 stinging bugs.”

The apiary is a joint project of Brooklyn Grange Farm and O’Neal. Their goal? To become the city’s largest treatment-free apiary. 

“No treatments means no contamination of the wax, no contamination of the honey, and no contamination of the bees themselves,” O’Neal said.

Proceeds from sale of the honey will go to support the program — and beekeeping ain’t cheap.

“In order to make this experience totally free for all the apprentices, we’re providing everything they’ll need to keep bees for the season — veils, hive tools, smokers, and more.  The bees as well,” O’Neal said. “Beekeeping can be expensive, and that prevents a lot of people from giving it a shot.  We’re taking cost out of the equation.”

Graduates of the program should have all the skills they’ll need to start an apiary of their own, O’Neal said, and — he hopes — to mentor the next generation of beekeepers.

“That’s really the main goal of this program — to share our love and knowledge of beekeeping with people who will want to share it in turn,” he said.

Potential apprentices have until March 21 to apply. The best applicants, O’Neal said, will “showcase the love of nature, food systems, or bees that we’re looking for.” For more details on the apprenticeship, and to submit your application (no resumes required, but “creative applications” are encouraged) visit Borough Bees.

Follow Doug: @_dougcampbell.