When we first moved onto our land we wanted to have everything. All the gardens, all the livestock, all the things. And off we went to clear land, add water lines, build fences, build structures for our animals and: We got bees!
Did we know what we were getting into? Absolutely not! Though we did some research initially, we jumped right in, just like with everything else we were doing. We figured, we will learn as we go, as long as we have the initial knowledge and equipment.
And we were right! We made sure we had the equipment in place, both to handle as well as safety equipment. And though our initial encounters where pretty stressful (a few thousand bees are pretty scary when you've never handled them) we survived and moved towards being much more comfortable.
We just needed to understand, the bees just want to live their busy little bee lives. That's it!
When starting to keep bees, it's a good idea to be a member of your local bee keeping association. They typically have monthly meetings and there will be plenty of free mentorship going around. And it's great to have a local mentor on hand for bee emergencies.
We were extremely excited to add bees in our first year and did what we needed to for maintenance during the first year. The first winter came, and we did what we needed to, to make sure we help them over winter.
The nice thing about bees it... They take care of themselves. They find their own food and water and all we need to do is check in to make sure we don't have a mite infestation or a predator problem.
Honey, of course, is what we wanted to get. However, not only do they produce an abundance of the sweet and sticky gold, they also pollinate our area for free while collecting pollen! What's not to love about bees?
Well, year 2 came around and our hives looked sort of deserted and we fell off the proverbial bee wagon. We did absolutely no maintenance and just left the remaining bees alone to do their thing. We estimated that 2 of our hives vacated and found greener pastures.
Every time we walk our land we make sure to walk by the hives to see about activity. This week we got lucky. It has been unseasonably warm and everything is in bloom, so the busy bees were indeed busy and out collecting.
Because we had not checked in on them for a long time, we had no clue what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised to see a well established colony upon closer inspection. Spring is the time they like to swarm to look for greener pastures, so we are determined to keep them around.
We ended up doing a hive inspection right there and then and found they needed more room to spread out. The goal for any bee keeper is to keep their colonies comfortable and around for the long run. We harvested three full frames of honey this week and could not be any more excited! They honey is the absolute best we have ever tasted, though our opinion on this may be skewed.
Moving forward, we definitely are excited to see where our bee hourney takes us. Not only do we want to harvest the honey and propolis, we want to make sure our bees are taken care of and they have a nice place to be.
Are we bee keepers? Technically, yes. Really though? Not really. We have lots to learn and are excited about our bee journey ahead.
Benefits of honey:
Raw honey has historically been known to heal wounds, help digestion, and soothe a sore throat. Aside from being delicious, there are other ways raw honey is good for you. Raw honey has been used as a remedy throughout history and has a variety of health benefits and medical uses. It’s even used in some hospitals as a treatment for wounds. Many of these health benefits are specific to raw, or unpasteurized, honey.
Most of the honey you find in grocery stores is pasteurized. The high heat kills unwanted yeast, can improve the color and texture, removes any crystallization, and extends the shelf life. However, many of the beneficial nutrients are also destroyed in the process.