Beginning Beekeeping

We started a new family hobby. We decided to start beekeeping as a way to learn and enjoy our new bee pets and also get fresh honey for our family. They also do wonders for flowers, fruits, and vegetables. I’m looking forward to an even more bounteous garden this year.

Beginning beekeeping can seem scary, but we’re mostly excited.  The bees arrived yesterday! We had prepared a little spot for them in our backyard, bought some basic beekeeping equipment, and set up their boxes. We also spent hours learning about bees (including reading “Beekeeping For Dummies” which we highly recommend). We learned not only how to take care of them, but also how to understand their behavior and watch their productivity. Each kind of bee has different roles and assignments. It’s fascinating to watch them carry out their specific jobs and work together.

The nervousness about them starts to disappear as you learn more and more about them. Our kids even played with the drones (male bees who DON’T have stingers). We’re just beginning this journey and aren’t experts by any means, but we’re looking forward to the new experience! Here’s my husband, Bob, moving them into their new home in our yard.Here is a box of bees. If you look closely you can see the bees using the entrance/exit at the bottom of the box. They like having a small door so they don’t have as much to guard from predators and robbers (bees from other hives who come steal food). The bucket on the top has a drip system that drips sugar water down to them, helping to provide food for the colony.The smoke doesn’t hurt them at all. It just calms them down. It actually signals to them that they need to get to work. They get busy with whatever their jobs are and don’t worry so much about the big guy handling them!

It’s been really neat to watch them retrieve water and pollen for their new home. We can see several of them at the door with their rear ends up in the air. Their job is to send a pheromone signaling the bees about how to find their way home in this new place. We are hoping that our queen bee, whom I’ve named Queen Beatrice, is busily laying eggs inside the hive. We can’t open it back up to check for a few weeks because they need that adjustment time in their new home before we go barging in again. It’s sure fun to watch all our new little girls!

Additional Layers

  • Learn about bees, their life cycles, and their behavior.
  • Don’t want to own your own bees?  Take a field trip to a honey farm.
  • Learn about the history of beekeeping.  How long have people been raising and caring for bees in order to harvest honey.
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