My wife has been nudging me to try beekeeping for a while now. She is worried about colony collapse and really enjoys honey in her tea. At first I was very hesitant. I didn’t want some buzzing swarm of doom in my backyard turning my lawn mowing routine into a battle to the death. It turns out all my fears were way over blown. A co-worker of mine had them for many years and filled me in on the facts and the day to day life of a beekeeper. Let me share a few common issues and questions that are asked.
- Are bees low maintenance? Yes, they don’t really need you. You can ignore them for a month or more. Visiting every week or two is good for monitoring their health.
- Don’t they sting? Yes, when threatened or under attack. If you open up their hive they are going to be unhappy. Smoke calms them down, and a veil keeps them out of your face. Away from the hive they will only sting if you start to swat at them. They are very docile! Stings are rare.
- Are they killer bees? No, they are typically european bees. The africanized bees are out in the wild, and will not mix with a normal healthy hive.
- Is taking honey bad for them? They typically produce a lot more than they need. They will continue to stockpile honey till their container is full. You have to leave them a certain amount for their own wellbeing, beyond that it can easily and safely be kept for human use.
- Seriously, keeping bugs? They are of the Hymenoptera not Hemiptera order, so no not bugs. Also they are adorable! True fact.
- Do you fedex bees? No, USPS and it is totally legal! You can order a package of bees. It is 3lb of bees with a queen in a screen cage with some food. I will be picking up a small starter hive from a place an hour north of here
- Honey is bee vomit! Ummm yes. They ingest, into their honey stomach, and regurgitate it multiple times to partially digest it and add enzymes to prevent the sugar from fermenting. So it is bee vomit to the tenth power. Sweet golden delicious bee vomit!
In an effort to create a welcoming home to our soon to bee guests; I got a ton of flowering annuals! It was kind of a coincidence. I was at lowes, and they had tons of marigolds for about 15 cents a piece.
They are beeautiful. I should start a count for every bee pun I use in this blog. I am up to three already. Instead of posting every time I inspect the hive I will only bee (4) posting major milestones and notable events. Everything else will go quietly into a new page of my website. A permanent bee journal page will bee (5) up shortly.