Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Interested In Becoming A Beekeeper?

So You Think You May Want To Keep Bees?

When I was growing up in the ‘60s, I remember one of the theme songs for Coca-Cola had a line that said, “Apple tree and honey bees..” In the ‘60s I remember honeybees! I stepped on my fair share and got stung. It seemed there were more bees then than there are now. All I knew about honeybees was that you have to pull the stinger our and it hurt! But oh did I ever love honey. I would beg my mom to buy comb honey because I loved to chew the wax and suck the honey out of the comb. I would take my fork and reach way down into the jar and spear a big chunk of comb filled with dripping honey and cram it in my mouth. What a treat! Little did I know that some twenty years later, I would be producing my own comb honey from my own beehive!

When I lived in Ohio, a friend introduced me into keeping bees. He helped me take my first hive out of a fallen tree. It was great. I fell in love with it and it has been in my blood ever since.

Let me say right up front that you don’t have to get stung. That may sound impossible, but it’s true. You can wear protective gear and learn how to handle bees and rarely get stung. On hot summer days, I sometimes work my bees without a shirt, just a hat and veil. I’ve learned how to read the bees, how to handle them and how to select the best day to work them when their temperament is the best. Besides beestings aren’t all that bad.

You may want to keep bees just for some honey for your family to enjoy. Or perhaps you need bees to pollinate your fruit trees, garden or crops. Or maybe you’ve decided to start your own beekeeping business. I do all three, and all three are very enjoyable.

Over the next few weeks, I'll introduce you to beekeeping. Then, maybe by the first of the year (or for Christmas) you'll convince someone to get you a new hive for this coming Spring. For now, rest assured that you CAN be a beekeeper!