Let Them BEE

Let Them Bee

We love honey: that golden elixir made by nature’s true alchemists. But our decision to keep a hive had nothing to do with honey.  We decided to add a hive because, well bees need us and we need them! Bees need safe chemical- free habitats to work their magic and we need bees to pollinate! And boy do they pollinate! We have seen a doubling in fruit and veggie production since we invited honey- bees to the party.

Our first simple single box hive was purchased in 2006 from “Bee Kind” in Sebastopol, a lovely lil’ store dedicated to the health of the honey- bee population, a great place to start any bee adventure.  With the advice of a neighbor we set up the hive to face east providing winter sun and under a densely leafed Ash tree to provide deep summer shade. Also providing the perfect spot to lie quietly of an afternoon and marvel at the unflagging industry of these tiny creatures. To watch them return to the hive, legs laden with pollen in colors from yellow gold to rich magenta, showcasing the latest tasty blossoms on offer.

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Even in the healthiest ecosystem, with their honey left in intact, bees are vulnerable to a plethora of dangers; parasitic mites, wax moths and skunks, oh my! Even a long wet spring can put a hive at risk. We also found out after the first year that overcrowding can cause an otherwise healthy hive to vacate the premises. One day the bees were gone, no sign of disease or invaders, no little dead bodies, simply no bees. When this happened, we took advantage of an empty hive to add another layer to the box and within six months a bee swarm took up residence. We have been happy neighbors ever since.

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As with all things on our homestead, we are learning as we go; reading, observing and turning to our more experienced bee keeping neighbors for insight and wisdom. There exists a never ending and constantly expanding wealth of knowledge about the magnificent honeybee and every bee- keeper has their own bit of lore to share. Even so, this industrious diminutive creature still holds many secrets to keep us enthralled.

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11 thoughts on “Let Them BEE

  1. When I was married my husband had bees. Learning about them was lovely. Such industrious gals. I remember being shocked at how far they fly during their short lives. And last time I was out in a regional park I found myself under a swarm of bees gathering on an oak branch. It made the hike. Thanks for triggering those memories.

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  2. Great post! I had a colleague in the 1990s who was concerned about the bee population and I didn’t take him too seriously; now I know how right he was. Thank you for raising bees, we need them for so many foods. Aren’t there also specific flowers and plants that attract and feed bees? The red bottle brush comes to mind. (CS5711)

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    1. Thank you for your comments. Yes the bees need us. And bees are absolutely attracted by certain flowers, luckily for us, in addition to our orchards and gardens we have lots of native shrubs and flowers! And a bottle brush as well!

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  3. I heard it is very important to have bees for the survival of our planet’s resources like the fruit and vegetables that we humans eat. Without these friendly little creatures pollinating the flowers they would not bud and turn into food for us to eat. So I can see the importance it would be to have these if you have a farm or something. Do you have a sustainable farm I’m guessing? CS5711. I would greatly appreciate it if you would follow me and I will follow you back. 🙂 -bel

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  4. This is a great topic to write about! Great job! Bees are very necessary to have around us, I am so glad to hear that you are doing this.

    Yesenia M.
    cs5711

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