Barn Love

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Beekeeping 101: Slow Down & Observe

Going from this:

to this:

takes a lot more time and knowledge than one might think.   But they are just honeybees, how HARD can it be to take care of them?

It's no secret that honeybees and the honey that they produce are good for both you and the environment.  Small doses of honey from local plants can even help to build allergy immunity and bees pollinate the plants that we get our food from.

Unlike most livestock, the weekly care of the hive is minimal, and your efforts won't be immediately or even directly seen. You can only get a direct glance into the honeybee world when you are occasionally working inside the hive.  For example, if you notice that you have odd shaped honeycomb, or  you can make an educated guess as to why but your effort to remedy it will take some time to work, if it works at all.

Trying to get a glimpse inside.

** The main thing to know and understand about honey bees is that there is no instant gratification**

Get Educated:

If you are considering keeping bees - wait.  Spend some time doing your research. For example, did you know that there are 3 main types of bees that you can keep? Each have their own pros and cons, and you have to decide which will be the best fit for your needs.  Kind of like picking out a puppy, or buying a car.

The hubby and I took a beekeeping course at our local nature center before we decided to make part of our yard an apiary.  During the course, one of the many things that we learned was how to properly care and maintain the hive.

Other Things We Learned:

The hierarchy of the hive - queen, worker, drone.
How often and what to feed the bees - particularly in the winter.
That bees DON'T want to sting you - they die when they sting (and not just because you swatted at them) Their abdomen literally rips away from its body.

During our course, we had to provoke this bee to sting. 

The class also presented the opportunity to purchase bees. This was a fantastic way for us to get a well established hive right out of the gate.

You can buy bees in two ways:

1. Nuc- This is a baby hive - it comes with a few frames, a queen, the workers, and honeycomb.

2. Package- These are just bees, with no established honeycomb.

Now what do you do when you get them home… and what are some of the "tools of the trade"? Stay tuned for the next segment to find out more!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tab, just wanted to let you know I read you blog and love the insight to farm life! Do you guys sell your honey? I would love to test drive in on my bf's allergies this year. Glad to see you guys are doing well :)

    Shannon K. (OLMC)