Bee-ing bee-bitten

Today’s post is a guestblog from beekeeper and herbalist, Leslie from http://comfreycottages.blogspot.co.uk/

About 10 years ago, I became “bee-bitten”. That is a phenomenon where all of a sudden it seems everywhere you look, you see bees and become enamored by them. I started reading every book I could find about them and started this insane collection of honey pots, smokers, decorative items, old books and anything else that had to do with bees! I got my brother Eric hooked too and soon we decided we needed to explore keeping bees. We saw an article in our paper about a local beekeeper and called him.

When we went out to visit him a whole new world opened up. Ron was tickled to talk to us and brought us out to his apiary and just sat down next to the hives to talk to us. I was a little leery at first sitting there with thousands of bees flying by and occasionally bumping into us, but soon the sound of all those little wings beating and the smell of sweet beeswax and honey had me lulled into a feeling of calmness I seriously had never felt before. Those bees no more cared about us sitting there than the man in the moon. They only bumped into us because we were in the way of their determination to do their job: bringing nectar, water and pollen to their hive.

pink and yellow-painted beehives with two beekeepers next to them

Ron and me at my backyard apiary

Soon Eric and I got our first hives and became backyard beekeepers! We joined our local club and I became its secretary. We were so lucky to have such a caring mentor as Ron; my favorite thing about beekeeping is being able to pay it forward and help educate the public about bees’ importance and to help others become beekeepers too.

Swarm retrieval gives us an opportunity to get bees for free and also to give little impromptu talks about bees. Many times whole neighborhoods end up in the yard we are retrieving bees from. Children are especially just mesmerized! Giving demonstrations at schools and groups like the Daisy Scouts gives children a chance to try on the suit, work the smoker and develop a fascination and love for our honeybees too. I always make sure and bring lots of hand outs like coloring pages I copy off for them. Then they bring these home to their parents and it is not unusual for me to get a phone call from one of these children’s parents and soon the whole family is over to visit my apiary.

man in vest and shorts by two beehives

Eric next to a newly hived swarm. He actually wore exactly this outfit to retrieve it folks! That really showed people how gentle swarms are!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

girl in beekeeper suit

Granddaughter Lily, age 7. She has been a beekeeper since she was three years old!

man holding a mesh box containing bees

Jim, one of the people we have helped start keeping bees with his new package of bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do keep bees and don’t know how to find out about being notified about swarms in your area, call your local newspaper and police station and let them put you on a list to be contacted when people call to report swarms. Bees-On-The-Net is a good internet spot to register. I don’t do removals from inside houses, and it is convenient that you can specify how far you will travel and exactly what situations you will retrieve them in on that site too.

Bees not only helped me find a wonderful way to have honey available for my families own use but also they led me to my second hobby, herbalism. Our little flying alchemists made me have a new appreciation for plants and now I raise and wild harvest many botanicals to help keep my family healthy and to use during times of illness or injury. Combining herbs and honey is so delicious!

Beekeeping is a hobby your whole family and friends can benefit from. A spoonful of honey a day will help keep allergies away too! So go find your bliss also, and try beekeeping today!

bee in the centre of a flower

 

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