Beekeeping is more than just loving honey, it requires that you be prepared to learn new life lessons taught to you by your bees or be reinforced from the perspective of bees.
Bees are one nature’s most fascinating insects, they are the only insects to make honey and are depended upon for 80% of the pollination needed for the world’s fruits, nuts and vegetables. You may want to think about that next time you bite into a summer peach, take a handful of nuts and put them in your mouth, or are trying to figure out how to make your grandmother’s squash casserole recipe.
About 4 weeks after the hive was set up and the queen introduced to her new workers, it was time to check the health of the hive. This means it is time to open up the hive and take a close look at the activity inside your bees new home, and with any luck you will see the queen or at least be able to identify that she is indeed working.
The bees here doing something that is called bearding-it means that the bees are hot and they have stepped on the front porch to cool off and have a beer. A lesson here is you are clearly out numbered and the bees may not take kindly to the hive being disturbed. Moral of the story? Just like everyday life, timing is critical.
It takes a certain amount of bravery or lack of experience to smoke a hive on a cloudy day. My son was brave and he had no experience which meant he was willing to take the risk.
An angry bee stung him in the arm. His body overreacted to the venom and his arm swelled, it took a week or more to eliminate the swelling. Lesson here…it may be time to buy a bee suit because it is going to become clear quickly that his body does not respond well to bee stings.
By the way it rained for 34 days here in Tallahassee and there seemed there was no end to our cloudy days, which made for some wild and crazy bees.
The hive is opened and the young bees are doing fine.
Wait, Wait, look the there is the queen! Look closely she has a painted red dot.
Bee fact: The queen lays about 2000 eggs per day and will select the gender of the larvae. Most will be female. The only males in the hives are the drones which sole purpose is to service the queen. The drones have no stinger. Typically in the fall the Drones are led out of the hive by the female worker bees as the drones usefulness to the queen has expired.
Let’s admit it takes a leap of faith and courage to hang out with the honey bees. The life lesson here there is always risk when the return is worthy.