You know I just had to blog about Bee School! Some of you are scratching your heads asking whaaat? Well, on saturday I drug poor hubby out of bed at 5am to drive 2 hours to sit in an auditorium for 8 hours to learn about Bees. To be specific, Honey Bees. I thought I was excited before I went to class but Oh boy have I got bee fever bad now! I blame my father, who has hives (yes, plural) and loves his bees so much he posts on FaceBook about them! (and you know it’s not official until you post it on FB) Incidentally, Dad is also responsible for me being able to get bees this year! He happens to have a top bar system that I can use which cuts my start up costs by, oh, a couple hundred dollars. Thanks be to parents who love their kids! ha ha ha
Ok so I am sure you are curious about class, what they teach, what instructors are like and so on. Well the whole day was broken up into 4 sections (and lunch) and my husband and I took all 4 beginner classes. We wanted to skip the last class and go to the top bar hive class but alas it was canceled. 😦
We started the day with an opening session with a lady from Arizona who has spent her life studying mites. (creepy itchy crawly and all-together nasty critters) Even though I itched the whole session through, I truly enjoyed her passion for her subject. How you can be passionate about mites I have no idea, but to each their own. I enjoyed her talk a great deal.
The first session was on bee basics such as anatomy, roles of the three castes (vocab word for ya) and general bee awareness. I am sad to say the guy who taught it seemed bored to tears and believe me this transferred to his pupils.
The second class talked about basic hive construction, tools and supplies. Taught by a 3-year “veteran” and her mentor. She was so fun. She told stories of her mistakes and successes and cautioned against the overwhelming cost of this “hobby.” I think she is right, people expect to make a killing off honey but don’t take into account the cost of supplies and limited (if any) honey you get to harvest the first year. Educate. Educate. Educate.
Class three was on common problems, such as mites, swarming and beginners not knowing about the queen in the box. What I learned is mites are nasty, swarming isn’t necessarily negative and to always make sure the queen makes it out of the box.
To wrap up our day we talked about all the products you can get from a hive besides honey. You can harvest and market Wax, Pollen, Royal Jelly and even Queens.
I bought a few things since they had a few vendors there. I got a really cool smoker for calming the bees, a brush and a hive tool.
Dad and I are ordering Russian bees next week and I am getting a 4lb box of them. Sometime in mid April my yard will have several thousand pollinators! And maybe just maybe I’ll have a little bit of honey too. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed my little summary of Bee School, have a great week!