Today we’re talking about beekeeping.
People ask us about beekeeping all the time and we have had varied experience with beekeeping and we’re gonna be brutally honest with you.
We hope you’re excited about beekeeping and what it might look like.
How we started beekeeping
Lacey loves all kinds of honey and I love doing things I probably shouldn’t, that is probably what enticed us to do beekeeping. When she was a kid she wanted to keep bees with her dad but then she grew older and set it aside. But she always wanted to keep bees because she loves honey and also having pollinators.
I think a lot of people have kept and tried to keep bees and there are some major difficulties that make it hard to be your favorite hobby.
We actually started keeping bees in the city way back in 2008. That is when we got our first hives.
There is this local guy who does honey and he was majorly involved in the local beekeeping community, so he would come and help us a little bit. That is how we started.
We did not start by going to a class because there’s some beekeeping classes that are available usually through the extensions agency. There is also the local Beekeepers Association, which is a really cool thing to be part of, but usually what you’ll find from the old-timers is a more traditional look at beekeeping
We are also the kind of people who like to just do it and figure out as we go. Hence, we did not take a class first.
Do we regret that? No, no. As soon as we get an idea what to do we just jump in which is to our demise sometimes but this time it worked out.
So we got two hives. We wanted to start with that because at that time we owned a business and Drew thought if he had hives then it would be something to take his mind off of work
I just really enjoyed being in the midst of that kind of energy or chaos too.
Things to remember when keeping bees
You can totally keep bees in the city, you just need to check on your local ordinances. There are some restrictions about how close they can be to your house or what not. As long as your neighbors don’t care then you can go ahead.
How time-consuming is beekeeping?
It is really up to you on how much time you want to dedicate. during the spring you have to get into the hive probably once a month minimum. Again, it depends, if you have one hive it can take one hour to check it or 10 mins, it just depends on how big the hive is.
And it also depends on what you are doing.
If you are extracting honey it’s gonna take you longer than if you’re just checking them.
Harsh truth of Beekeeping
Unfortunately, it not as romantic as it sounds but it is super fun. There are many myths, rumors, and fantasy about beekeeping that you have to filter out. It is also not a cheap hobby. We’ll talk about costs and stuff later on this blog but yeah beekeeping can sometimes be costly too.
Beekeeping can also be really sad, but it can also be really exciting. It’s like farming though. It can be heartbreaking but fun too.
The thing about beekeeping is that they are like any livestock. You check them regularly, see the activity, make sure the bees are doing good. Those kind of things.
Yes we can have them out in the field and leave them be. But again, it goes back to like our whole mentality of what’s proper animal husbandry what’s the proper way to treat an animal in those hives.
You see those square white boxes and they are very efficient in maximizing honey output and that’s what most people are trying to do. The compromise on that is bees are just like any other animal where you’re compromising, in my opinion, the welfare of the animal for the product you’re getting.
It interferes with their natural tendencies. It manipulates the biological foundation of bees. So if you have seen those traditional frames they are the same size and the cells are the same size. The cell on those are pre-made so that the bees can fit more in there and get more honey out. Traditionally, bees make their own but everything is just a little bit twisted for maximum efficiency.
Starting beekeeping the homestead way
So we did not end up taking beekeeping class, instead we went up for a weekend in a sanctuary in Floyd Virginia called Spikenard Farms where there they have a honey bee sanctuary. The owner is a German guy name Gunhter Hauk who teaches biodynamics and does trainings for beekeeping.
We left that place thinking we could be doing this in a more holistic way. In a way that promotes the health of the honey bee and that also promotes the health of the people that will eat the honey of those bees.
Because when you talk about all those little manipulations like taking all the honey and putting sugar water and don’t forget the chemical additives, all of these will interfere with the human body function or cycles.
We want to encourage the vitality of the bees and prevent a colony collapse disorder. As we have mentioned this may be due to the manipulation of the bees, over-medicating and just plain exploiting the bees..
We are just getting started
That’s all? I think not!
Hey! There’s heartbreak, there’s fun. But it is the true face of beekeeping.
If you’ve kept bees before post in the comments what level of bees you are in. Or if you want to get started with bees or if you know somebody that had bees and they would love this, share this article with them
Also, if you love honey, like a honey connoisseur, we’d like to hear from you too!