Beekeeping Class – Who knew school could be so much fun !
Bee Well Beekeeping BOOTCAMP
Kerry Owen, owner of Bee Well Honey, has been involved in helping new beekeepers for many years. Kerry remembers the older beekeepers who helped him early on in his beekeeping experience and he wants to share that knowledge with others. Charlotte Anderson (Carolina Honeybees Farm) has worked part time with Kerry for 8 years. She is a SC Master Beekeeper and the 2012 SC Beekeeper of the Year. It was only fitting that these two would team up to provide a special beekeeping class for area beginners and share their love of honeybees.
The Bee Well honeyhouse was crowded on that March Saturday morning. Everyone arrived early and some had driven for several hours. Chairs were set up and notebooks opened. The morning session consisted of a presentation that took the students deep into the world of the honeybee. What kinds of bees are in the hive and how do I identify them ? How is a queen made ? How do I know if I have a queen ? What type of equipment do I need ? What should I expect the first year ?
As the lecture portion proceeded, Kerry brought in actual frames from the bee yard. These were passed around and we even saw a bee being born ! (emerging from its cell). Capped brood, larva, pollen and a few docile nurse bees crawled around on the frames as they were passed from one student to another. This was a wonderful experience for the many new beekeepers in the group.
After a short lunch break, everyone was back at the farm. Kerry spoke about a very important beekeeping tool – the smoker. Smoke is used to calm the hive and distract the bees from our intrusion. Kerry demonstrated how to light the smoker properly with his favorite fuel (dried pine needles). Charlotte remarked that Kerry was the only person she knew who could light a smoker with wet pine needles ! He does have a lot of practice while managing almost 2000 hives.
Now it was time for the class participants to get involved and apply some of the techniques we had discussed during the morning session. We enjoyed looking for capped honey, open brood, capped brood, pollen and of course the queen. We worked to identify workers, drones and we found those queens. This was a very exciting session with many of the new beekeepers experiencing the inside of an active hive for the first time. Bee Well Honey would like to thank the participants and we hope that you will enjoy the wonder of bees for many years to come.
*Please join our newsletter mailing list if you would like to be informed of future classes. You can also follow Bee Well Honey on Facebook !