Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bee School for Beginners


Kritter Keeper attended a bee school last weekend.... and I absolutely loved it! It was held on a Saturday and thankfully a friend invited me otherwise I would not have known about it. I dreaded getting up that early but this was important as I barely saw a honey bee last year due to colony collapse syndrome and the travel time was worth it. I am a big believer in educating myself before I work with something so foreign....and should I decide to keep bees, then hopefully I will lessen the chance of loosing a hive. Kritter Keeper can barely kill a fly in case you didn't know... Rolling even a single bee or loosing a hive due to my ignorance would make me feel awful though I know it could happen!


There were four classes for beginners. Swarm class, Beginner info, Equipment and start up costs, and lastly a well known local bee man offered excellent advice as to how he achieves his success. I took pages of notes but will not bore you with all of the details. I loved the fact that they had vendors which is the perfect way to learn and expose yourself to all of the equipment, network with the some of the best in the area and find some goodies. My favorite vendors were Queen Bee and Reid Apiary. Queen Bee is very much like me, loves the vintage look, designs tasteful t-shirts and all sorts of cool things. Her website will be up in April so be sure to google her if you like bees. I purchased the most beautiful notecards! Reid Apiary builds hives with pretty copper roofs that arch allowing the hives to have a homey appearance.


The following day I called our county bee keeper's President and chatted with him for almost an hour. Thinking that I should get bees soon as this is the time of year to get them for honey in late July, he cautioned me to wait. I loved his advice and his sound ideas were smart. Attend the meetings, watch and learn as others do it throughout summer and by fall I should be ready. We were in agreement with several issues and that made me feel confident that I am on the right path. There is one thing all of the bee keepers say is that there are a lot of differing opinons on how to tend to your bees. It isn't math with only one answer, there are a variety of ways to do things, but I liked what he said because I wanted no package bees from Georgia or Florida ....I hope to get some good ole' local bees that are accustomed to our conditions, carry no larvae beetle, etc. Funny, nobody in the school mentioned larvae beetle as this destructive pest is becoming more prevalent from southern bees, but the topic of Varroa mites was very popular...See? It pays to talk to your local experts.

So if you are thinking of bees, do not buzz right in...some of the advice I heard from class was to purchase two hives as one might die throughout the winter, do not buy used bee hives but you can buy used bee suits and veils, etc. Keep your hives off the ground about 18-21 inches or the skunks will get them. Hives should receive morning sun but not hot afternoon sun. Feed your bees sugar water or special bee syrup (never store bought syrup) beginning in late fall throughout winter, network with the experts in your area, join your county association and the most imporant advice is to always wear light colored protection and duck tape areas where they can slip in...bees love hair! Oh, and most keepers wear rubber gloves. The bees do not like rubber and do not care what color the gloves are....pink for me! And finally.....eat raw honey mixed with cinnamon! It is very beneficial to human health even for those with diabetes as long as care is given to the amount consumed. I am linking with Farm Friend Friday even though today is Saturday. The blog hop is for the entire weekend and I look forward in reading like minded farm blogs.  Enhoy the rest of your weekend!

33 comments:

Teresa said...

I am so excited to hear more about your adventure in bee keeping. It's something that fascinates me, but I'm nowhere near ready to jump in. Sounds like you are taking the cautious approach, which I applaud.

Gail said...

We always had bees when I was growing up. I love fresh honey.

When they sprayed the highlines years ago, we lost ours. We hope to begin bee keeping again.

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

What a cool hobby!

Darryl and Ruth : )

Sharon said...

Good post, very interesting subject. I can see why local bees would be the way to go and I think it's wise advice to wait and learn before you begin!

Angela said...

How exciting! You should take a look at Warren's blog. He is a beekeeper who lives in the Charleston area. http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com

Have a Great Day!
Angela

Vicki said...

WOW! So exciting and yes guess we are old souls as you said...I wouldn't change it would you? Love your blog....Love honey by the way! Good luck with your new venture...

The Barn Door said...

Wow, it's like a whole Bee culture with bee stuff vendors and everything. Who knew!!

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Hello!
I'm looking forward to seeing how things go with your beekeeping as we've been thinking of trying it ourselves. We have a hive in our corn crib that we'd like to move but I think we'll leave that up to someone who knows what they're doing. I think we need to find classes like you did! I like the idea of taking things slow. I hope you're enjoying your weekend!
Maura :)

lisa said...

Nice post. The hubby got his first hives last year and he really enjoyed doing it. We hope that the hives made it. I know that one of the hives we think they swarmed but are not sure. Good luck and I know you will enjoy it.

Louise said...

Beekeeping sounds a good deal more complicated than I would have thought. Sounds like you are on the right path, however, and will soon have lovely, healthy hives and wonderful honey.

Nancy@A Rural Journal said...

I think anything any of us can do to promote good bee health and higher populations is a plus.

So, how many of the cool products at the bee show did you buy? :)

Chai Chai said...

I like the idea of bees but the Commander has a very bad "stinging" incident as a kid and he is very wary...

Thanks for stopping by and posting...I have actually been here before via Luckybunny at Our Forest Haven. You are one of her followers and sometimes I just go exploring.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I've always thought it would be so fun to have bees. My husband is kind of allergic, though, so I'm not sure it's the best idea for us to have them. I'll have to live vicariously through those of you that do!

Feral Female said...

Very cool! My hubby has always expressed an interest in bee-keeping but I`m terrified of the little buggers so I don`t forsee it happening anytime soon. =)

Verde Farm said...

Great post! You are using Shoshin with bee keeping. You are going at it as if your mind has no information at all--searching for your own information and making the best decisions. That is wonderful. I can’t wait to learn more too!

Sall's Country Life said...

Bees are so important to humanity, I wish you well in your bee adventure. Sounds more complicated than I expected too, but then most things are once you delve into them. Bee hives are a staple to the farmers around us, we know spring is here when we see trucks unloading the white boxes out in the middle of a field. The honey is plentiful and we are lucky to have free honey provided to us as the farmers get more than they need!!

Country Gal said...

Not too keen on having bees but I love that they make wonderful honey ! We have bee keepers around here and I buy their fresh honey ! Sounds amazing cant wait to see and hear all your experiances with them . Have a great day !

Boho Farm and Home said...

Love this post and wish I could go to bee school. I too am considering keeping some bees. What a great opportunty to go an experience a class like that I have be class envy. :)
xo
Caroline

Michaele said...

Raising bees is on my bucket list. I will be interested in learning from you. Good luck.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

We also saw very few honey bees last year and I've thought of getting bee hives too. But like you, I'd be starting from scratch and have also decided that I would just read and learn more about it before I jumped in feet first. By reading your post, I can see that's what I need to do! I'll be anxious to read how it goes for you! THANKS for a good post that has really good thoughts!!

I hope you've had a good weekend!

♥I am Holly♥ said...

That is a very interesting post and a new adventure! I remember years ago a few people where I went riding were bee keepers and I always found it very interesting. I'll look forward to hearing more! Lots of love, Debbie

Bee Lady said...

Hi there,

Verde Farm suggested I connect with you. I've been beekeeping in Indiana since 2003 and love it. I've also been connecting with Farm Friend Friday. I am so glad to hear you are taking the approach of waiting and learning, and that you took a class. It's the best way to start beekeeping. Most people just want to jump in, then they fail, and give up. We need more honeybees, so keep up the good work.

Cindy Bee

Rural Rambler said...

Very interesting post Kritter Keeper! But I'm always finding interesting things here and always learning something new here too! I am looking forward to more posts about bees as you begin this new Kritter Keeping path!

Phyllis said...

I've been very interested in keeping bees for several years now. I'm so afraid of doing more harm than good, that I just haven't pursued it.

I'm keenly aware of the plight of bees and am happy to have seen quite a few last year near the woods. I'm hoping that means there is a wild hive near by.

Buttons said...

Dear Kritter Keeper. What an informative blog. I really enjoyed it. It would be fun to raise bees but I don't think I can handle anymore work here on the farm. Have fun you will do great.I look forward to when you start so I can read about it. B

luckybunny said...

Great post! We were really hoping to add bees this year but we just have too many other projects going on, so next year. For sure a good thing to educate yourself on very well and this bee school looks like a great place to do it and a lot of fun! I look forward to reading more on your adventures into bee keeping.

baystatebrumby said...

I am incredibly psyched that so many people are into bees and keeping hives. That is such a good and promising sign. Where would we bee without the bee? Love that first drawing of those bees on your post, by the way, it is totally gorgeous,, almost moving in its sensitivitiy to the bee it depicts! I LOVE that there is a class called SWARM CLASS! That is scary and fabulous. We have honeybees living in a cherry tree in our front yard. Once in a blue moon they will swarm! A few years ago I was outside painting and I kept thinking I was hearing a motorcycle when really it WAS THE BEE SWARM! then I thought , I GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE!! But they didn't seem too interested in me.

Willard said...

I wish you well in working with the bees. I never tried it, but Coy did years ago--not quite sure why he quit.

You mentioned somewhere about finding deer antlers and the rodents eating them. This is the case, but it doesn't necessarily happen quickly. I found the first one Lenny shed last year soon after it happened, but I didn't find the second until Mar. 16th. It had a bleached appearance, but was still in good shape otherwise.

Nan and =^..^= said...

This post was so interesting and thank you for sharing such valuable info...my husband is interested in finding out more about bee keeping and I'm going to have him take a look at your post. Wishing you the best in your bee keeping venture.
Thanks so much for stopping by my furry and feathered friends blog and I left you a little comment there.

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Pretty and informative post - the best kind! I look forward to reading about your bee fun!
hugs,
Leslie

Karen said...

It's always best, if you have the choice, to go into something new as well informed as you can:) You are certainly taking the right steps in that regard.
When we moved here 25 years ago, we inherited a hive of bees.
I did manage to find a night school course that Fall on beekeeping, so at least went into the winter with some knowledge. We did harvest honey for a few years. Unfortunately though I starved the bees to death one winter:( I felt awful about that, but I didn't get into the hive soon enough to replenish their sugar syrup.
I did find it a bit hard looking after bees though, since I couldn't just open the hives and go through them when I had the time. The weather AND the time had to coincide, and it was sometimes hard to make that happen.

Theanne and Baron said...

Great bee information, thanks for sharing!

Flat Creek Farm said...

On my list too! We have a friend who sells us organic wildflower honey cheap, so we're a little spoiled. But would love to have my own. Look forward to reading more about this adventure! -Tammy