I only needed to meet two beekeepers before I knew beekeeping was something I wanted to do. The first beekeeper I ever met was a man named Bruce Wall. He lived on Iona, a small island in Scotland. He raised bees, sold his honey, and carved marble. He left these small things at his gate for people passing by to purchase. My friend Caroline and I rang his doorbell (an actual bell) just to tell him we loved his art. Then we snapped a photo too. we only talked for a few minutes, but you could tell he was a great man. This is us in 2007.
It only takes a week to start seeing that the queen is doing her job. Here is a photo of larva and other worker bees taking good care of them. Young bees that take care of larva are called nurse bees. You may have to look closely to see the larva in the comb. Can you find them?
Beekeepers wear different styles of veils based on what they like best. I started out with a fencing hood style that is connected to a jacket. It allows your neck to move really easily. Today T.J. and I went to Pigeon Mountain Trading Company. They sell everything you need to keep bees. I needed to get a new veil so T.J. could use our other veil and jacket. Here are some photos of me trying on different types of veils.You can click on photos to make them larger and learn more about them. Look for more photos in the future to see which one I purchased.
Here are some of my friends wearing other types of veils.
It is not time to start harvesting honey yet, but It is still pretty interesting. My friend Evan sent me a message by using the ask a beekeeper part of this website. If anyone has a question let me know and I'll do my best to answer it. Evan wrote:
"I would like to know how you get honey out of a hive"
I'll post photos and explain more about how it works when its time to harvest the honey, but here is a short answer:
Here is a short video of a beekeeper harvesting honey:
Film by Tiger in a Jar
Observations about our world is what science is all about. Since I don't speak bee, this is my most important way to know how my hive is doing. You can learn a lot about bees just by watching them. Next time you see a bee, try asking yourself these questions to guide your observations.
Check out that bee!
Here are some things Honey Bees like to eat or drink:
This beekeeper just added his bees to the hive. Since they have no honey they will start with sugar water in the jars. The beekeeper will have to come back and check on his jars to make sure his bees have enough to eat.
Today my package of bees arrived and it was time to put them in the hive. The queen bee arrived in a small box. A few attendants took care of her while she traveled to the hive location. Talk about high maintenance, wherever she goes her attendants follow. They help take care of her and they even feed her. The queen is the largest bee in the box.
The Worker Bees and Drones will go wherever their queen leads them. So when you want your bees to make a hive a home you need the queen to stay put. See the small box it has some white candy inside. The candy blocks the Queen and her attendants from flying out of the box until they eat their way out. This gives the Queen time to get used to her new home and the other bees will start preparing the combs.
February was coming to an end and I was off to a new adventure. My Husband and I headed to the County Extension Office to pick up the wood, frames, and wax to build the hive. When we arrived we saw lines of hives waiting to be picked up by my classmates. Students crowded into a small room to learn how to put the frames together. The frames hold a wax sheet that the bees will use as a foundation for building cells. We needed to insert the wax into the frames and nail down a strip of wood so the wax stays put in the frame. We also learned that we needed to weatherproof our wooden hive by sealing it with paint. This will protect the inside of the hive from moisture. We loaded the car and drove off with the scent of beeswax in the air.
A few weeks later, I finished up with painting.
I'm getting pumped up about starting the Bee Mentoring Program. The program has three locations around town. About 30 people signed up this year so I will have about 10 classmates at my location. Right now we are getting prepared for the bees and soon we will be putting the hives together. Each class has a few mentors to answer questions and demonstrate how to take care of bees. We will get to see not just one colony (hive or family of bees) this season, but all of our classmates' colonies.
This past year I wanted to try new things and enjoy God's plan for my life. So this is me trying something new: beekeeping. I will try to chronicle my discoveries, adventures, and love of bees in this blog.
Staring at the dancing bees in an observation hive, it hits me. I love how these tiny creatures communicate. It looks like they're having fun dancing around while telling their sisters where to find some nectar.
Amanda's Sting Count
2013- 6 stings