Bees?

When I was a kid, we never had a garden. My Dad was a city boy. My Mom grew up on a farm and didn’t want that life for herself. I lived across the street from a Methodist church. I found some gardening books at a rummage sale there. The next day, I was digging a patch right in the middle of the lawn. My first garden. I’ve had one ever since. I’m still finding gardening books at rummage sales too.

Last January I joined the local Beekeepers Association. I had been reading everything I could find about bees. I felt ready to set up a hive and get going… until I went to bee school. I stumbled out of that first 6 hour beekeeping class totally overwhelmed and confused. What was I thinking? All those diseases, CCD, attracting bears and rodents…never mind the prospect of possibly being responsible for the deaths of thousands of little creatures … No way! I never went back. I still really wanted one of those suits though, lol.

Lately, I’ve been reconsidering the bee thing. I’m thinking gardening school could easily be a deterrent to someone who’s never gardened before… diseases, insect invasions, animal pilferings, poisonous plants, soil management, ph analysis, compost, dead plants. Maybe keeping bees is a lot easier than school made it out to be

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43 thoughts on “Bees?

  1. I would definitely give it a go if you are keen! As you say, there is a lot to pick up on about gardening, so I think just like gardening, having some knowledge, being observant and being patient are always a good start. Plus there’s heaps of bloggers who keep bees, and I’m sure they would provide some invaluable advice….best of luck!

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  2. What a lovely story about you digging your first garden…your farmer’s ancestry had to find a way out! And maybe you should visit a few experienced beekeepers and hear their stories and even get some better guidance to start up. It would sad if you miss out on a life experience so close to your heart because you were overwhelmed by TMI. I am pretty sure that you are one of those people who will develop a natural sense of what is going on with your hive;0)

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    • Thanks! Better to have tried… I do think I may have an affinity for it. I’m not afraid of getting stung, there’s a lot of speculation that it may even be good for your immune system and prevent arthritis. Extra bonus…or consolation prize, lol!

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  3. I’ve watched a couple of home and garden, self-reliance type shows that included episodes on bees. Looks like the toughest part is keeping the little critters alive, which isn’t something you actually have any control over, aside from avoiding pesticides. I have a certain fondness for honey bees. I can’t walk past a dead one on the sidewalk without moving it into the grass where it’s less likely to be stepped on. I like the suggestions about checking with bee bloggers.

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  4. I’ve never kept bees but I think it is becoming increasingly popular as people perhaps try and do their bit to help bees in their hour of need. Here in the UK, I recently saw a new bee lodge for one of our native bumble bees in one of my Spring seed catalogues, as another idea for attracting bees into gardens.
    I follow another blogger who keeps bees and posts on her bee-keeping experiences – she’s in the Netherlands: https://lizard100blog.wordpress.com/find-my-stuff/

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  5. We started 2 hives in our garden last year! Its going well … and both seem to be hardy and healthy! We have Russian honey bees which are more tolerant of disease and mites. Alas they are a bit more aggressive….. It looks like we may experiment with an Italian queen this year and see how it goes. Italians are more laid back πŸ˜‰
    My husband loves keeping them. And this year we hope to have lots of honey to sell πŸ™‚
    We also have a local mentor to call on when we have questions and to give us a hand. If your Beekeepers Association has a mentor program, then I’d really recommend you take the plunge!

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  6. I’ve only ever had one garden in my whole life and then it was a rented plot where I just had to plant, weed, and pick the spoils! As for beekeeping, I don’t know the first thing about it but we have a good friend who does it and sells his products at the Farmers Market. He loves what he does — and I love his products! πŸ˜€

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    • A lot of the things I made for my store used beeswax and I love honey! Do you ever see bumblebees where you live?….that reminds me , your post on the ladybug was GREAT!! I had no idea they looked like that with their wings spread!

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  7. It’s so true- the beekeeping world is intimidating, I’m in the same boat after reading and researching. Happily there are plenty of bees around enjoying our land- someone keeps them around here. I hope this will be your bee year! You go girl! You never know until you dive in!

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  8. Unfortunately there are not enough bees around my neighborhood. Nothing grows great in my yard. We need more bees. I think you should go for it, Cindy.

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  9. This winter, a tree fell on our only surviving hive. We’ve done out best, but that doesn’t keep the dumb bugs from swarming, or being attacked by the neighbor’s dumb bugs, or a whole bunch of other possibilities. I’m sure we’ll replace the hives once Hubby is back on his feet.

    Those suits are neat looking, but they’re HOT!

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  10. My advice to anyone who is daring to forge a new path is always “Start small but START.” (Of course, I don’t take my own advice, judging by my lack of chickens or goats OR bees!) . . .You first – I’ll follow.

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  11. When we first moved here there was a hive living in the walls of an old house. It had been there since I was a boy, so for at least 30 years. We hired someone to remove them and put in them in a bee box. I bought Beekeeping for Dummies and that was the full extent of my training. We kept that hive for years, and eventually caught a swarm so that we had two hives. We extracted lots of honey and I considered beekeeping to be just about the easiest thing to do on the farm.

    But over the years that has changed. We eventually lost both of those hives. Since then we’ve bought four more and while some made it for a few years they eventually all died or left. Keeping bees is much harder now than it used to be.

    I now have a bee suit, an extractor, and enough equipment for at least 4 hives. But no bees.

    So I’ve decided to go back to square one. I start a beekeeping class about a month for now. We’ll see how it goes.

    By the way, I’m still thinking about how to answer your questions. πŸ™‚

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    • There was a lot of talk at bee school about losing hives and finding piles of dead bees. Their flight radius is 3 miles. All the herbicide and insecticide applications must be a big factor. You are rural, living clean and have a lot of land so it seems to me that your bees will have a lot going for them. I am glad to hear that you are bringing the hives back! Here, people use chemical treatments like crazy..perfect lawns with plants bought from places that treat them with poison.
      “Beekeeping for Dummies”..lol. I set up this blog starting with “Blogging for Dummies”.

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  12. Great comments here, too many to “like” them all. We don’t have bees yet, but are planning on top bar hives, which are closer to the way that bees live naturally. Have you checked them out? The bumble bee house that looks like a dog house is fascinating. We have bumble bees to house in our area.

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  13. I say go for it!! Face those fears…if you have had this in your mind for a long time then you are supposed to do it!! My girlfriend’s son has always had a fascination with bees…he went to a seminar last month and I believe his hives are on the way…think he had to get them before spring. I will let you know how he does!! Much love! ❀

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  14. If you love bees and want to garden, you can also grow a bee-friendly garden (and, as I learned last year–they loooove tomatoes!). You don’t get honey but you do get to provide food for the pollinators and they’ll do your veggies a favor in return! Of course, you can do both–raise honeybees and provide for wild bees. It doesn’t have to be (bee?) fancy, either. Planting a clover patch will start you off. Good luck, whatever you decide! πŸ™‚

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