A friend is teaching me how to work bees. It is extremely fascinating, and I took some pictures to help me remember what we were doing. I am also doing homework, and more than ever wanting our own set of hives, although it may not be the smartest thing considering where we live. The bees are such amazing creatures, and I love learning more and being hands on! I was thrilled that I was allowed to handle the hive boxes and frames my second time out, and in fact was so hands on that time I didn’t take any pictures of that day.
Bees are such huge assets on the homestead, and wonderful for your health, both mental and physical. Stings are actually used in some forms of medicine to heal the body, honey, pollen, and royal jelly are used to heal health conditions and stimulate fertility as well as simply enjoying on a piece of toast, and there are other benefits as well. Your garden and orchard, and those of your neighbors, will produce better for having a hive or two of bees nearby, and the learning experience is great for stimulating your mind and that of visitors and children. I hope you enjoy the pictures below and some of the little tidbits I have learned so far.
First thing is to make sure your smoker is all set. I learned that the smoker works by making the bees go eat honey, so they go down in the hive and get busy eating. Some always fly out, but most go down except in the “hot” hive (one in which the bees are more protective for one reason or another).
Opening the hive gives you a chance to see all the inner workings. The hives were quite busy with the spring gathering of food stores and eggs being layed and brood being raised.
Learning bee behavior is one of my favorite parts of working the hives. There is so much going on, and such communication among the hive members! Each hive was unique, and you can see the individual genetics in each hive. Some bees were darker, some had a different variation of marks or slight differences in body shape, behaviors differ by hive, the list just keeps going! I hope I can figure out a way to keep at least 2 hives at our home, but in the meantime I am very thankful my friend is letting me help her! If you ever consider keeping bees I think you will find them intriguing and fun, as well as gentle and industrious!