Farm Life Products29 March 2021
About six years ago we inherited a couple of hives. We have always been passionate about pollinators on the farm however we knew absolutely nothing about bee keeping. Dad and I decided that we would take on the job of looking after the bees and thankfully a good friend of ours, who is crazy about bees, offered to teach us the basics so we could get up and running.
I am constantly astounded by these little creatures, they are truly amazing. When Mandy and I first went to check on the hives, sadly they were in a pretty poor state of repair. With nothing to hand except some elastic bands Mandy started tying the frames back together. We decided to come back soon and fix them properly. When we returned, I could hardly believe my eyes. Outside the hives was a neat little pile of pieces of elastic bands. Inside the hives the bees has stuck the frames back together using propolis, or bee glue. They had just needed a little helping hand.
I am constantly learning, however one of the things I learnt pretty quickly is that bees can sting through bee suits. I hope I’m not the only one that believed bee keepers wore those suits to stop them being stung? I’ve tried various suits and all fail to protect me from the odd sting. Bee keepers clearly rely on intuition, knowledge and their skills rather than their suit. Secondly, another big learning curve was ensuring my bee suit didn’t have any holes. A couple of times I’ve danced my way around the field, trying not to squash a bee while it flies wildly around my mesh hat. Funny to watch but not great to be the one in the suit.
I brought my Dummies Guide to Bee Keeping with me on holiday to Ibiza quite a few years ago. That’s the kind of holiday buddy I am. I astounded everyone with my bee facts around the pool.
Did you know?
-A colony of bees consists of 20,000 – 60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about six weeks and do all the work
-Honeybees are the only insect that produces food eaten by man
-Honeybees use dance and their sense of smell to communicate
-Larger than the worker bees, the male honeybees (also called drones) , have no stinger and do not work. They are required for mating. Before winter or when food becomes scarce, female honeybees force surviving males out of the nest.
-The queen can live up to five years, She is busiest in the summer months, when she can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day
About six years ago we inherited a couple of hives...