Part II: The Inspiration of an Unintended Beekeeper

Beekeeping is more than just loving honey, it requires that you be prepared to learn new life lessons taught to you by your bees or be reinforced from the perspective of bees.

Bees are one nature’s most fascinating insects, they are the only insects to make honey and are depended upon for 80% of the pollination needed for the world’s fruits, nuts and vegetables.  You may want to think about that next time you bite into a summer peach, take a handful of nuts and put them in your mouth, or are trying to figure out how to make your grandmother’s squash casserole recipe.

About 4 weeks after the hive was set up and the queen introduced to her new workers, it was time to check the health of the hive.  This means it is time to open up the hive and take a close look at the activity inside your bees new home, and with any luck you will see the queen or at least be able to identify that she is indeed working.

The bees here doing something that is called bearding-it means that the bees are hot and they have stepped on the front porch to cool off and have a beer.  A lesson here is you are clearly out numbered and the bees may not take kindly to the hive being disturbed.  Moral of the story? Just like everyday life, timing is critical.

It takes a certain amount of bravery or lack of experience to smoke a hive on a cloudy day.  My son was brave and he had no experience which meant he was willing to take the risk.  
An angry bee stung him in the arm.  His body overreacted to the venom and his arm swelled, it took a week or more to eliminate the swelling.  Lesson here…it may be time to buy a bee suit because it is going to become clear quickly that his body does not respond well to bee stings.
By the way it rained for 34 days here in Tallahassee and there seemed there was no end to our cloudy days, which made for some wild and crazy bees.
The hive is opened and the young bees are doing fine.
Wait, Wait, look the there is the queen! Look closely she has a painted red dot.

Bee fact: The queen lays about 2000 eggs per day and will select the gender of the larvae.  Most will be female. The only males in the hives are the drones which sole purpose is to service the queen.  The drones have no stinger.  Typically in the fall the Drones are led out of the hive by the female worker bees as the drones usefulness to the queen has expired.

Let’s admit it takes a leap of faith and courage to hang out with the honey bees.  The life lesson here there is always risk when the return is worthy.

31 thoughts on “Part II: The Inspiration of an Unintended Beekeeper

  1. I think you are very brave. I will never kill a bee and I love honey but I keep my distance as when I get stung I am a hospital case!! Hope you have a dry and good weekend. Diane

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  2. truly fascinating. I've never been that up close and personal to a bee hive, even in pictures. How awesome. It sounds like quite a bit of work. But I'm sure the reward is wonderful at the end.

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  3. Dear Velva, That is something! I am so sorry that your son got stung. It is very painful and it does take a long time to feel better. I hope he is doing o.k.. I guess the bee-suit is a must. Hope all goes better. I am glad though that he was not dissuaded and is carrying on.Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  4. Another fascinating post, and excellent pictures. I think a bee suit would be a wise investment, because your son is clearly great at bee keeping, and the occasional sting will inevitably happen.

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  5. What a fascinating hobby. I'm so impressed with your son's learning. So sorry he got stung though. I swell up like crazy from any type of stings. Maybe you're right – it's time for a bee suit. How fun to actually see the queen. BTW, the bees are the only ones who are wild and crazy from this rain :)Sam

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  6. I don't think I could do the bee keeping thing. As you know, many farmers contract with bee keepers to have hives stationed in their fields during pollination time and we saw something very unique yesterday driving through Montana. A semi was stacked about four hives high and covered with a mesh to deliver to the next location. As we passed the truck going slowly up a steep grade, we could see lots of bees flying around.

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  7. I found 3 racks for sale for about $800, not sure if that's a good deal. Just looking for now.If he reacted like that, next time could likely be worse. Does he have an epipen just in case?

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  8. I am so impressed by your son's courage and ingenuity. 🙂 I've worked up enough courage to work with goats and birds and dogs, but I think bees would still be waaaay out of my comfort zone. 🙂

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  9. There is indeed always a risk when the outcome is something worthy. Long back I remember we had beehive on our mulberry tree (in India)and our security aid helped us remove the bees and obtain honey. I was quite small but still remember the smoke and everything.

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  10. I'm impressed. What an interesting thing for your son to take an interest in and I sure do wish him much success. Sorry to hear about the stinger though.

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