The perfect candidates for this gig have dedication, few allergies, and an ability to mind their own beeswax.
Two beekeeping enthusiasts are creating the city’s first apiary apprenticeship, where nectar novices will learn to maintain a colony, produce honey and breed all-natural Brooklyn bees at the Navy Yard.
It’s not for the half-hearted — or those who are afraid of insects.
“The only thing we’re asking for is a little bit of passion, to say ‘Yes, this is a good idea!’ ” said Tim O’Neal, a beekeeping veteran of 14 years and the blogger behind Borough Bees.
The free, seven-month program is the brainchild of O’Neal and Chase Emmons, head apiarist of Brooklyn Grange — the shipyard’s new 45,000-square-foot rooftop farm.
With 20 hives and two million honeybees, the brave new colonies will form the city’s largest commercial bee habitat.
O’Neal and Emmons will provide all the safety equipment and instruction, but the dozen lucky novices must devote at least four hours each weekend.
Rookies will learn hive management, honey harvesting and even queen breeding — skills the program’s founders hope will turn the trainees into a new crop of urban agriculturalists.
But sweet-toothed applicants beware: first-year hives sometimes produce little or no honey.
That said, the bugs are so benign that they make for sweet pets, according to Emmons.
“Once you get past the fear factor, it’s so much easier than having a cat,” he said. “The coolest thing is hanging out in the evening with a beer, when all the bees come back to the hive.”
Borough locavores have been buzzing about city bees for years, as they tend to be tougher and healthier than their pastoral cousins because of Brooklyn’s sea of flowering trees and freedom from pesticides.
“When I started out keeping bees, I did it for the honey,” O’Neal said. “Then I started doing it just because it’s completely engrossing to see how they function and to help them survive.”
To apply to the Big Apple Apiary Beekeeping Apprenticeship, e-mail [email protected] by March 21. No resumes are required; just include a description of yourself and why you love bees. O’Neal says that people are encouraged to make their application as detailed — and creative — as they want. Visit www.boroughbees.com.
Reach Kate Briquelet at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.