Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bee's and Their Keepers

 It is a rainy Saturday afternoon. The perfect time to take a nap, or curl up on the couch with a good book or even a movie, that is unless you are me. If you are me it is the perfect time to curl up on the couch and write about the absolutely fabulous morning I had attending a Bee meeting. 

  I am not a bee keeper I am married to one. My husband and his friend work together to keep bees. I usually stay away from this activity due to an allergy to bees. I view the hives from a safe distance and normally stay completely away from the area when the guys are harvesting or maintaining the hives. The bees do get a little aggressive when there home is being invaded so I think it smart to stay away during these necessary intrusions. I peek out here and there and try to get photos of all the interesting stuff going on, but for the most part I leave the Bees to my husband and Tom.
 Since Tom wasn't in town this weekend the hubby asked me if I would like to go to the bee meeting with him. You know I said yes. We had a bee bonnet for me and the EpiPen on hand in case of a sting. I am happy to say I didn't need either the bonnet or the pen. I had a great time playing with my camera and the bees, watching all the fearless bee keepers being up close and personal with the bees gave me the confidence to step close and take the pictures I wanted. I stepped far back at times when the bees were more active, but I would be right back up close as soon as the bees would began to settle back down. 

The Queen

I learned so much this morning. In just two short hours my whole way of thinking about bees and keeping them changed. 
  Over the winter last winter a good portion of the hives died out. When I asked the guys why this happened I got shrugging shoulders for an answer. I totally understood that answer because I know so little about bees and bee keeping that I thought, well that you just put the boxes for hives out there and the bees just moved in and took care of them selves. Today I learned that more bees are killed by the keepers  themselves then by anything else. One of the biggest killers of kept bees is the lack of knowledge. 
   You have to maintain and care for your bees if you want them to survive a cold winter season. You need to know about mites and beetles. How to prevent them or remove them if you get them. You need to be able to recognize them when you see them. You need to know when and how much to feed bees. Yes I said feed bees. It was a surprising bit of information to me as well. You also need to know what to feed bees.

 That ladies and gentleman I am sure is just the tip of the iceberg in the amount of knowledge you need to have to be a good bee keeper.
  Did you know that bees can't fly when it is cold? Or how about that if 1 bee eats they all eat or they all starve to death together? I didn't know any of this. Turns out the bees we lost didn't freeze but starved to death over the cold cold winter we had last year. Bees cluster together during the cold weather and don't move. Their food only has to be touching some of the bees and they will all eat. Heavy healthy hives will winter over every time. 

     Did you know there is an art to smoking the bees? Well it is a learned skill that if you Look to see, and listen to hear you will learn easily. To little smoke and you have angry bees to much smoke and you have even more aggravated bees. It is kind of like Goldie locks and the porridge too hot, too cold, and just right.

  As I have already mentioned bee keepers are fearless.

 Some use the bee gear and others don't but they all get up close and personal not worrying one bit about getting stung. As I watched them take hive after hive apart to inspect and test for mites I was just completely impressed with how friendly they were with the bees. Bees landed on them on bare skin and fingers and the keepers would talk to the bees and wait patiently for the bees to mosey on their way.

I am not saying I am going to go out and make friends with our bees but I was moved a bit to see the friendship between the keepers and the bees. I say keepers but that sounds so wrong they aren't keepers they are helpers. 
  I had so much fun this morning and learned so much more. I hope I get to go more bee meetings. 
 Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by.

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