Bee Facts

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Swarm of bees

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’ they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” – Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

It is that time of year.  Bees will start swarming.  What is a swarm you ask?  Swarming happens when a new queen is born in the hive for whatever reason.  The new queen stays and the old queen leaves with 40 to 60 percent of the bees in the hive.  A scout goes out ahead of time searching for a suitable home for the colony.  When a home is found then the old queen and the bees that are with her move in.

If you see a swarm notify a local beekeeper or local beekeepers club right away.  PLEASE don’t spray and kill them.

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A Few Bee Facts 

1)  Scientists at St. Louis University believe that a toxin in bee stings called Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus’s  protective envelope.

2)  Bees are not native to the US.

3)  Bees have two stomachs.  One for eating and one for storing nectar or water so they can take it back to the hive.

4)  Bees communicate through pheromones and dance.

5)  A Queen lays around 1,500 eggs in one day.

6)  Drones are the male bees.

7)  Drones are all run off or killed in the fall.

 8)  Drones don’t have stingers.

9 )  Bees can only sting once and once they do they die.

10)  The average worker bee makes around 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

11)   Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it.

12)   Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.

13)  Propolis is a sticky substance  collected from the buds of trees, and used to weatherproof and plug holes in the hive, has also been found to have anti-bacterial properties.

14)  People use the bees to sting an area riddled with arthritis in order to combat the effects of the disease.

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I have a lot of people ask me about becoming a beekeeper.  I always tell them to read as much as they can about the subject and to join their local bee club.  Also look for a local beekeeper that would be willing to let you go along with them and teach you.  I also recommend starting with two hives.  One can buy package bees. nucs or whole hives sometimes and if you are lucky maybe catch a swarm.  I usually buy a 3 pound package.

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Three pound package of bees.

I plan to do more in depth stories on beekeeping in the near future.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.  If you have any beekeeping questions ask away.

Beekeeping

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Putting a 3 pound package in a hive.

It was 49 degrees when I showed up at the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association’s bee yard.  It was overcast and drizzling somewhat however the beekeepers who had ordered their bees didn’t let the weather dampen their spirits.  A big thank you to Scott Moser and the Jefferson County Bee Association and all their hard work to make this possible.

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Pulling the cork  over the candy in the queen box.

I think the question I get most about beekeeping is “How do I get started?  My suggestion is to find a local beekeeping club and start attending their meetings.  Most of the time there is someone there who can answer your questions and help you get started.  I also suggest getting some books on beekeeping and read as much as you can.  Just keep in mind that sometimes it doesn’t seem the bees read the book.

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Three pound package of bees.

Each beekeeper has their own preference as whether to buy a nuc or a package.  My preference is packages like the one above.  Sometimes your local beekeeper associations order packages.  Both have their pros and cons.  The queen in a nuc is all ready acclimated with the rest of the colony so it can be easier for a beginner to start with.  Packages arrive with the queen in a box separate from the rest of the colony and has to be introduced to the colony slowly.

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Hive with two eight frame brood supers.

Four popular breeds of bees are Italians, Russians, Caucasians and Carniolians.  Again they each have their pros and cons.  Decide what kind of beekeeper you want to be, hobbyist, commercial, small honey production etc., then read about the breeds and talk to local beekeepers then decide which breed will work best for you.

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Package tucked away in the hive.

You also need to decide if you want 10 or 8 frame hives.  The obvious pro to the 8 is when full of honey it is lighter than the 10.  Do your research and talk to experienced beekeepers before you get started and decide what will work for you.

Thanks for reading.  I hope I was of some help and you found the blog informational. Remember to plant bee friendly plants.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.