Beekeeping is hot right now. The only other thing close to it is chicken keeping. Chicken keeping I’m very familiar with, but beekeeping I wanted to learn more about.
Blue Seal was packed – chairs were full, some folks stood the whole time, while others just picked a spot on the floor and sat down.
Wendy’s first suggestion for those who think they want to be a beekeeper is to attend a beekeeping class. There are fall classes by local NH beekeeping organizations and spring classes by Wendy. The cost in some cases is $100 per person while others charge $100 per family – check the details.
The youngest beekeeper she knows is 6 while the oldest is 94 – true definition of age diversity.
Her suggestion for reading material was Beekeeping for Dummies which is a good, practical outline of what beekeeping involves.
Bees are truly fascinating. Did you know that a honey bee has three night eyes between their two regular eyes or that they have hooks and eyes on their wings? Who knew?
Within the hive, some bees clean, others nurse, while still others perform the job of undertaker. These bees don’t need a jobs program, they have it all worked out.
We also listened to the pros and cons of the various types of hives available including 8 – 10 frame vertical hives or horizontal top bar hives. Vertical appears to trump horizontal, and this was documented by a research project. Thirty six experienced NH beekeepers maintained horizontal hives for two years. At the end of two years, there was only one horizontal hive alive.
There are also several predators that can affect the health of the colony, and we discussed two, including mites in the hive and bears trying to get the larvae from the hive. Here in NH, we have bears so an electric fence is required to protect the hive.
Did you know bears can smell bee larvae from a mile away or that they can smell sunflower seeds from a half a mile away? No wonder the State suggests taking down bird feeders the first of April.
She covered so much more – bee bites used as medical treatment, information on swarms, beeswax, grocery store honey versus real honey, used hives possibly holding disease, bee poop eating car paint, and there are no native bees only European bees. Whew! It truly was a great learning experience, and we barely scratched the surface of what is covered in a bee school.
We’re on a waiting list for Wendy’s honey. Can you imagine – a waiting list for honey! I think it shows that people are continuing to be more interested in where their food is coming from, what it contains, and how it is handled.
If we decide down the road to pursue beekeeping, Wendy Booth will be the lady we turn to for bee school and guidance. She has a wealth of knowledge and an easy but informative way of sharing it.
According to Wendy, to be a beekeeper you have to be comfortable with uncertainty, but that it is the most fun you can have with bugs in a box.
Oh, did I mention she keeps bees in her bedroom? I told you it was an interesting presentation.
Granddaughter (11) comments: It was a great presentation. I learned a lot of fascinating information about bee colonies, but I don’t want to have hives in our yard.