Monday, February 16, 2015

A New Bee-ginning

Moving to the country has opened up such a range of possibilities that our former life within the confines of an HOA would not allow. One of those things is beekeeping. We'd discussed the possibility and were thrilled to discover there is a Beekeeping Association in our new county. This weekend they hosted an introduction to beekeeping, and we were able to learn the fundamentals of starting our own apiary and harvesting honey! There were more than 50 other beekeepers-in-training in attendance, which is a good sign for the dwindling honeybee population. We want bees not only for their honey, but to pollinate the fruit trees and garden we plan to plant. In addition to video and power point presentations, we were able to go around to stations to see hands-on how the equipment works and speak to experienced local beekeepers. It was a great experience and really got us excited to get our hives set up as soon as possible so we might have honey by summer.

We learned different methods of feeding bees sugar water.

We learned how to build the brood boxes, supers and frames that make up the hive.

Our kiddo was especially fascinated by the hammering involved in hive building.

We learned how to use a smoker to calm the bees.

Finally, we learned how to extract the honey from the comb.

At the end of the class,they held a raffle to give away the beehives we'd built in the class, along with a swarm of bees to populate the hive and some necessary accessories. Lo and behold - WE WON! We planned to start off with two hives, so still need to supplement our winnings with another setup, but what a good omen to our fledgling beekeeping endeavor! 

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