Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beekeeping with TMI

Yesterday, I blogged about Martha's beekeeping. Inspired by Martha and as a lover of all things bees, I went to a seminar at my local community college titled "Beekeeping for Fun and Profit."  Perhaps I could become a beekeeper like Martha....hmmmmmmmm.

Dr. Ed Bell of Belfry Bees and Honey is a beekeeper in the Fox Valley area and extremely knowledgeable about bees and honey production. 

Dr. Bell has several apiaries in the area and harvests the honey and beeswax for sale in local markets.

This is what the inside of a "super" looks like.  The bees build their honeycomb within each frame, which is used to grow larvae and store honey.

Here's another look at the frames:
Once the honeycomb is full of honey, Dr. Bell takes the frame out and puts it into a "honey spinner."  It works similarly to a salad spinner:  the force of gravity pulls the honey out of the honeycomb, and it pools in the bottom of the barrel.  It is drained through the spigot and strained to remove any bee bits.

Note: "honey spinner" is probably not the correct term, but that's what I'm calling it.  That's just how I roll.

Honey actually comes in a variety of colors.  Every jar here is honey, and the color depends on what types of pollen the bees collect. 

Dr. Bell brought a ton of equipment and examples to the seminar.  Here, we have a variety of smokers used to calm the bees.  A papery wasp hive is on the left (many people confuse wasp hives with bee hives) and the dense honeycomb produced by bees is on the right. 

I was thrilled to see that Dr. Bell had brought favors for all the attendees: we each got a small brick of beeswax to take home with us.  He melted and molded the honeycomb himself. 

The seminar was very informative with lots of pictures, equipment and a great starting packet for those interested in becoming a beekeeper.  (You can sign up for Dr. Bell's enewsletter here.)  Now that I'm armed with all this great information, I have a much better understanding of what it takes to become a beekeeper.  Just think of what I could do with all that honey!

The Big Guy has put his foot down about having a hive on our property, though, so my next move is to figure out where I can stash one nearby.  Hmmmmm.....

1 comment:

Ed Bell said...

Amanda, great to hear about your interest in beekeeping and it was fun to have you in class. You were very kind in your comments. Best of luck with your future beekeeping. I'd be happy to talk about options that may be more acceptible to the "Big Guy".