I came home from college to find our family had adopted over a thousand new team members: honey bees. Our first honey harvest will be in August of next year so our only goal right now is to help the bees store enough honey to feed themselves through the winter.
We're all pretty new to this whole bee-keeping thing so, as far as I'm concerned, the only part of the process that I feel comfortable with is managing the smoker. It's easy: light a smoldering fire, pump the smoker full of air and use it to calm the bees.
My brother and dad open and check the hive every week at least. They look for comb and see how much honey the bees have in stored for winter. Each hive needs quite a bit to survive.
Here's a lot of bees, but very little comb and no honey ... these miniature workers need a long motivating speech or pep talk. OR, we need to do a little more research.
None of us have gotten stung yet, but we still watch from a distance as Dad and brother open the hive. I haven't gotten a chance to wear one of those bee-suits yet, but I'm not overly eager :) I'll leave the beekeeping to the men.
Every week or so we add the green flat on top of the two white ones and fill it with a half gallon of sugar water. The green flat is split into four sections with a thin wooden palate that floats on top of the sweet water so the bees can stand on it as they drink. We're only going to keep this up until the bees start gathering nectar themselves.
Oh, there's no place like home. It's so good to be back with the people I love.