Homegrown in the Heartland
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: I have 10,000 honeybees living in my backyard. They are pretty amazing.
I’ve wanted to have a hive for a couple of years, and this past spring I finally got it all set up. Now I have a whole colony of bees making honey as we speak. I’m definitely no expert on beekeeping, I’m really learning as I go, but bees are fascinating creatures! They’re hard workers, that’s for sure.
So, how do you acquire a colony of bees, you ask? Well, they come in a box, which looks like this…
And, then you dump all 10,000 of them into the hive, which looks like this…
That’s an exciting moment. 10,000 buzzing bees are kind of loud. But it all goes okay, and then you put the lid on, feed them some sugar water every now and then, and you open the hive and check every couple of weeks or so to make sure everyone is doing their job. Then, hopefully by then end of the summer you have lots of honey to harvest!
I guess it’s not that simple, there are a few other important things in there, but basically that’s what happens. My hive seems to be doing well, there’s definitely a lot of activity going on, and honey is being made. The other day I took off the lid to see what was happening inside and I found that the bees had built up some honeycomb on top of some of the frames, and there was a little pool of honey just sitting there. So I tasted it, of course. It was good. My bees know what they’re doing.
Did you know that all of the worker bees are female? The male bees have one job – to fertilize the eggs that the queen lays. The females are the ones who go out foraging for pollen and nectar and bring it back to the hive. They are the ones who build the honey comb, and keep the hive clean and guard the hive entrance from other insects and creatures who want to steal the honey. They do it all, and it’s kind of exhausting to think about.
It’s fun to watch the entrance of the hive and see all the bees coming and going. Do you want to see? I bet you do! Watch really close and you’ll see some of the bees that come into the hive are carrying pollen in little pouches on their sides – it’s bright yellow. See if you can spot it…
:: Carrie ::