Monday, August 26, 2013

Backyard Bees? Maybe!!

As you may have heard in the media or even noticed in your own neck of the woods.... honey bee populations are are declining. There are many theories as to why, but I am not going to get into that here. The fact is, they are declining, enough said. While our garden did alright this year, the lack of pollinators made us consider how good our garden COULD have been. But what can one person do? Well the answer for us is the possibility of becoming beekeepers!

I am luck that my Uncle is a beekeeper and was more then willing to let us come for a visit. You see my hubby doesn't like bees... well, that's not true, he likes them but is a tad afraid of them. While it was HIS idea to put in a hive, he wasn't sure if he could handle it. So we visited my Uncle to see what beekeeping was like, hands on.

After putting on a bee suite, my Uncle took my hubby out to visit some of his hives. Now hubby told me he was a bit nervous, but once they got going, it was something he thought he definitely could handle. Though if we had our own hive, he would have added gloves to his outfit. My Uncle did not provide gloves as they can be bulky and basically just get in your way. That being said, my uncle was stung about three times on his hands as he opened hives. But being a beekeeper, to him, it was much like a mosquito bite! LOL

I stood a distance away as they fired up the smoker and began to open the first hive. The bees remained calm, so I moved in closer (I did NOT have a bee suite on.) I stood about 4-5 feet from the hives as the men folk set to work doing health checks on the hives. The bees zipped around, coming and going, but I did not receive a single sting. My Uncle would walk frames over to me so I could see and photograph them. It was amazing to see so many bees going about their business!

My hubby stayed with my Uncle checking the hives for about 2 hours in 90 degree weather and had a ball. We learned some very key things about beekeeping during this visit to my Uncle's apiary. There is MUCH more to beekeeping then just putting a hive in your yard and walking away! Well we knew that but we now know how much work it will be. More then likely he said we would kill our bees the first year (because most people do) but that if we were really interested in trying beekeeping, he would set us up with hives and bees to give it a go.

He explained we would need two hives instead of one because that way we would notice the differences in the hives if one started to weaken. He told us most people set up one hive, not knowing what they are doing, and by the time they realize something is wrong with their hive it is too late. But if you have two hives you can see when one is weakening verses the other and be able to adapt quicker. So maybe we will not kill our bees!!!

So it looks like, this winter we will be doing a lot of reading and learning. And thankfully we have my Uncle (though almost two hours away) to mentor us through this new adventure. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, we will not kill our bees. Our garden will have pollinators. And if we are truly lucky, maybe a little honey in our future too!


  1. Great post! Pinning it now!


  2. We have also thought about keeping bees. Our garden did not do well, and have not seen a honey bee at all. The other day we came across I bunch of flowers, but not one bee.

    Thanks for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist.

  3. How awesome! I'd love to keep bees! Maybe one day soon....good luck on your new adventure! Thanks for sharing with us at the Homeacre Hop! Join us again soon!
    Mary :)

  4. Check with your AG dept to find a local beekeeping group. It is good to have someone local to compare notes with.
    Our trade schools also have bee keeping classes a couple times a year.

  5. Awesome! I am featuring this in our weekly Independence Days Challenge! Thanks for being a part of it!

  6. good post! We are newbies and there is a lot more to it than I thought. Having a mentor is very important. At least it is for me

    1. Being able to talk to folks who have done it for a while is an amazing resource.