For years I’ve been fascinated by honeybees and I truly believe that their pollinating skills (along with their production of honey) are truly inspiring. There are other pollinators and I applaud them too, but I especially love the honeybee.
I didn’t know too much about them and didn’t know if I had what it took to be a beekeeper (although I see myself as more of a beecarer than keeper). I did some research on the internet and there was finally a beginning beekeeping class locally, hosted by the local Extension. I went to the class and LOVED it!!
Back in the spring, I was put in touch with a ‘bee guy’ who rescues swarms and is a bee and wildlife removal specialist. He has 24 hives at last count and shares the wealth when he retrieves swarms from property, trees, etc. As I had never even been around bees, he invited me to come play with the bees one day, it was extraordinary and I totally loved it. I had gotten a ‘bee veil’ and some sturdy bee gloves and off I went. Hundreds of bees buzzed around us, but I never got stung and I held frames of honey comb and brood, I learned to identify the queen, the workers and the lazy drones.
I had ordered two hives and they came but I had no bees as it was too late in the season to get any from commercial sources. Then my ‘bee guy’ called to see if I was still interested in beekeeping. I said I was and he said he had two swarms that he would place in my hives to give me a start, so husband and I packed up my hives and off we went. One was a large swarm and the other was ‘smallish’ and we took them home and installed them in the yard.
The small swarm didn’t make it (might have been some newb error on my part, or the extraordinary heat of the summer). Anyway, the larger swarm is doing great and while I probably won’t get honey this year (they need to have plenty of stores to make it through the winter, I hope they will go gangbusters next spring.
Bees and more bees
This year, however, is a learning year and I’m enjoying them. They are collecting pollen (I’m amazed at the different colors of pollen), making honey, etc. The lovely queen is laying eggs, which turn into larva and uncapped brood, which become ‘capped brood’ which become baby bees that chew their way out of the capping to begin their work. They will in turn become nurse bees, janitor bees, builder bees, guard bees and forager bees… whatever the hive needs.
Yes, I’ve been stung a time or too (I was careless more than anything) and it hasn’t been bad. Husband and SontheYounger sometimes join me to inspect the hives (ever couple of weeks or so).
I’m looking forward to continuing to learn about bees and beecare. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Have a great week… Hugs, Ellen