Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Life In Bees

So, I started bee-keeping school yesterday. We had another session today and will meet again next Saturday and Sunday. It's fascinating, although still a bit overwhelming. The fellow above was holding a handful of dead bees for identification, but I guess that goes without saying...
What a bee wants, what a bee needs-bee accoutrements for keeping the hive abuzz, including a spray bottle of sugar water, a hive tool for prying apart the frames inside the hive (to remove honey, as well as check on the general health of the hive-I'm learning that things can change in there pretty quickly, so it's important to stay on top of things), and other assorted and sundry apiary things. 
These are burlap sacks a local coffee roaster generously donated. Apparently, the burlap smokes well inside the bee smoker, creating the highly desirable "cool smoke" which calms the hive. A bit of smoke causes the bees to become alert, worried there may be an impending forest fire, which would then cause them to flee, or in bee nomenclature "abscond", from the hive. This alertness is desirable because it also temporarily impairs their chemical messengers, or pheromones, which would otherwise tell them there was an intruder in the hive and to attack (so, so, so not what you want to happen!).
My trusty gal-pal Rachel (whom I refer to as "Ladypants" and who, in turn, refers to me as "Ladypants") doing her very best "Vanna White, in the bee yard, with the smoker" act. Well done, Ladypants, well done. More to come next week!

8 comments:

nicole said...

i am SO excited about this new adventure of yours. i think we're going to be seeing an swell of interest in beekeeping along with all the other self-sufficiency skills. what a necessary skill to be fostering n the community.

when do you think you'll be getting your own hive/s on your property? is there an ideal time to start up seasonally?

ashley english said...

Hi Nicole! I'm so excited, too! I'm hoping to get my bees and equipment within the next month or so. Start-up costs will be several hundred dollars, (especially as it will be necessary for me to purchase bear-proof fencing) so I'm saving to get there.
Ideally I'd like to purchase both the bees and supplies nearby and local beekeepers don't tend to take credit cards!
Seasonally, many folks start around March-April, although you could start with bees anytime in the Spring or Summer.
Bee (!!) assured that as soon as I get my hive, I'll post many pictures!

Bonner said...

You abscond ever onward in your pursuit of domestic bliss and planetary harmony! Bees' blessings be upon you as you enter this new realm. Look forward to some very interesting photos on the blog... You're gonna look super sexy in a bee-keeper's outfit.

Anonymous said...

Bonner! What's up? What could be sexy about a bee suit? I'm ready for the Honey ,Honey! Bee safe!

MOM

Rachel said...

I'm in this with you, sister. Lets combine resources and time. Although, if its on your land, I imagine you'll succumb to the urge to constantly check your hive as well.

See you this weekend for Round 2!

P said...

This is so fascinating - such a different world than my own. I now want bees on my balcony (to keep the ones in my bonnet company). I think I'd find it difficult to keep my bear paws off the honey, though...

I can't wait to hear about your bee-utiful adventures. I'm absolutely hooked.

(Do you read Hayseeds and Horsefeathers? Something tells me you two would get along like gangbusters.)

sarahkeith said...

Neat post! I just came across your blog, and I like it very much. Also, those pictures from your class look like Warren Wilson, where I went to college...are they?? Double neat.

ashley english said...

Hi Sarah! Glad you enjoy the blog! Yes, you're correct-the background in the pictures is Warren Wilson. Bee school was held there this year for the first time. Such an incredible campus! How lucky you are to have gone to such a wonderful school.