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My Beekeeper Class Part 8 - Preparing for Winter

Beekeeping Class

My Beekeeper Class Part 8 - Preparing for Winter

The bees work so hard for us. Without the bees, we wouldn't have 1/3 of the food that we eat. And on top of all their hard work, they give us the gift of honey. So if we take their honey, it is the beekeeper's job to make sure the bees have enough to eat through the winter. If the beekeeper takes too much honey, this must be replaced with sugar water.   Let's quickly review the make up of a typical beehive. The bottom boxes are the brood boxes. In the center of these boxes, the bees grow their...

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My Beekeeper Class Part 7 - Maintaining a healthy Hive

Beekeeping Class

My Beekeeper Class Part 7 - Maintaining a healthy Hive

Bees get sick too, everything from diarrhea to constipation. Just as every parent must eventually deal with a sick child, every beekeeper must know what to do when his or her bees aren't feeling so well. So during my last class, we talked about the most common bee ailments.   Knowing what healthy brood looks like makes it easier to identify anything that doesn't seem quite right in the hive. Healthy cell caps are slightly raised and show the same color depending on the age of the cell. The bees do their best to maintain a healthy hive. If they discover sick,...

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My Beekeeper Class Part 6 - Honey

Beekeeping Class

My Beekeeper Class Part 6 - Honey

"Life is a flower of which love is the honey" - Victor Hugo.   Honey is truly a remarkable gift from the bees. We already learned about harvesting the honey. Today we talked about the different varieties of honey and what to do if you want to sell your honey.   Nectar contains about 80% water. The bees get that percentage down to 18% and almost like magic, we have honey. Actually, that process consists of a lot of work on the part of the bees. A worker bee heads out of the hive in search for nectar-rich flowers and uses its...

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My Beekeeper Class Part 5 - Wax

Beekeeping Class

My Beekeeper Class Part 5 - Wax

My teacher called me before class started and asked me to bring some candles. Our topic was going to be wax. Yay! In former times, bees were considered more valuable for their wax than their honey. Candle light was a privilege and a luxury. With the introduction of chemically produced waxes such as paraffin (the sludge from the bottom of an oil barrel), beeswax lost its importance. Beeswax is a luxury product to be cherished. Read about the advantages of beeswax here.    In my first bee class, we learned about the worker bee and the different stages of her very...

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My Beekeeper Class Part 4 - Queen Breeding

Beekeeping Class

My Beekeeper Class Part 4 - Queen Breeding

Raising a new queen sounds like a topic for advanced beekeepers, at least that's what I thought. But during my last beekeeper class, we learned that queen rearing and mating are actually one of the most important jobs of the beekeeper. So please bear with me as this got slightly confusing at times.   The first reason for raising a new queen is the obvious, your hive is without a queen. We talked about how to find out if your hive is with or without queen during my last beekeeper class. Another reason to breed a new queen is that your...

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