The Beekeeping Club provides support for the honey bee population, which helps to pollinate the plants in the garden. Bees are vital to our food supply and are under tremendous pressure from several factors, which have led to extraordinary levels of hive loss.
The Bee Yard at Madison Community Garden maintains 4–5 cooperative hives. All Beekeeping Club members, whether experienced or not, can choose to gain hands-on experience managing, maintaining, and harvesting the co-op hives under the supervision of an experienced beekeeper. Any honey harvested from the co-op hives will be shared among Beekeeping Club members.
Photo: Stephen McAuliffe
A Brief History
In October 2015 the Madison Borough Council unanimously passed a resolution approving the keeping of honeybees at the Madison Community Garden. Site preparation for the Bee Yard was completed by Beekeeping Club members in early spring 2016. With the help of a dedicated group of volunteers, an area approximately 24’ x 28’ adjacent to the Garden was cleared and wood chipped.
A solar-powered ‘bear’ fence and a surrounding ‘people’ fence with a locked gate were installed along with Bee Yard signage. Hive equipment and tools were ordered and made ready for the arrival of our first honey bees. Two packages of Italian honey bees arrived from Georgia and were installed on April 23, 2016. The final Bee Yard is a ‘bear and people secure’ apiary in which local residents can also keep individual hives (as space permits beginning in 2017).
The Bee Yard is registered with the NJ Department of Agriculture, AIS# 5267. It is also registered with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for pesticide notification.
The Beekeeping Club membership fee is $35 for the year. This is separate from the Garden membership fee. Individual hives are available for an additional $35 per hive. Individual hive owners are responsible for following all Bee Yard rules including Integrated Pest Management practices.