• Beekeeping - An Introduction

    When most of the people think of bees, the picture that comes to mind, is one of the fuzzy, brown, black and yellow harvesters of pollen. These little ladies is visible exploring bunches of clovers and purple passion flowers throughout the spring and summer months. There was a time once this sight was much more common. Over the last several decades, a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder has had hold and destroyed a lot of the wild colonies. They simply appeared to disappear. Beekeeping bees is one way to try to help ensure that the survival of these irreplaceable creatures.

    The vital pollinating process performed by the European Bee is not a truly selfless act however, simply because they require nectar and other nutrients to produce honey so that you can feed their offspring. Once the nectar is returned for the hive other worker bees will use secretions from other abdomen called beeswax to make combs where the sweet fluid may be stored and ultimately transformed into honey, hence the common name honeycomb.

    Carpenter bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets - Bees of any kind and wasps are awakening from their winter sleep and so are on the look out totally free pollen, that's in abundance at the moment, in addition to a new home. These insects would be the pollinators from the insect world and so are also beneficial too. However some colonies can get extremely large which stinging insects will get aggressive if provoked. I mention carpenter bees specifically as we've taken several calls this week. Carpenter bees specifically bore into wood to create their nests and can cause extensive wood damage.

    The Worker. The worker bee could be the all-important base of the hive. Without them, the colony will falter. They do a lot of the tasks in the colony. All day the humble worker travels to seal the honey, feed the drones, raise young bees and larvae, attend the queen, build honeycombs, store pollen, propolize, remove dead bees and larvae, cool the hive, guard, carry water and forage. They don't do each one of these tasks at once, naturally. Workers mature in twenty-one days and live for five to six weeks. For each age in life, they may be tasked with specific jobs. For example, guarding the colony is performed by the oldest and biggest workers.

    Lorenzo Langstroth would be a American clergyman and amateur beekeeper. After years of research and experimentation, in 1851 he created a bee-hive which used his idea of 'bee space'. This was the first mobile structure which allowed honey to be collected in an efficient method that was suited to both bee and keeper. Sometimes called the Langstroth beehive, it was obviously a truly groundbreaking innovation which is the basis of modern beehive designs.

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