What I've Learned After 3 Months of Beekeeping.

More often than not I get this little itch in my soul, and the only way to scratch it is to go 'balls to the walls' and get crazy obsessed.

For example, three years ago I was re-reading my favorite book and upon mention of backyard chickens, I thought "I can do that. If I child can take care of yard birds, I can." So, then I spent four months working with the City Council to pass a backyard chicken ordinance in our city.

About a year and a half ago I wanted to cut down on my refined sugar consumption and freaked out when I saw the price of local, raw honey. So I convinced my dad that he should get bees on his farm, and he was kind enough to share a little over a quart honey with me.

Of course, the whole idea of getting honey from my dad wasn't quite satisfying enough. I wanted to be immersed in the process. There was this itch that needed to be scratched. I signed up for a beekeeping series and the rest is history.

I am the proud owner of 6 pounds of bees and 2 queens, living in 2 home-built top bar beehives. 

Because of course buying the hives would have been too easy.

It actually was easy for me, since my dad and brother built the hives. I mostly supervised.

Of all the homesteading journeys I've been on, beekeeping has been the most challenging. The most uncomfortably awesome.

Becoming an amateur beekeeper has taught me to be patient. After all, it is months before one can harvest honey, and even then the first harvest might be small to ensure the bees have enough food to survive the upcoming winter.

I have learned to pay attention to the weather, especially how the weather is so vastly different on our urban homestead and my parents' farm, which is a little over an hour north of us. These weather differences mean flowers and trees are blooming at different times, and wildlife activity patterns are more unpredictable.

But raccoons are curious little boogers all the time.

Beekeeping has taught me, in just three short months, that mankind needs to be more cognizant of our impact on the earth. Bees - this all-important pollinator - are totally dependent on abundant vegetation, clean water, and consistent weather patterns.

Without any one of those three essential components and the health of a hive is in jeopardy. I've learned to be a better steward of our earth. I've learned that little changes, like splitting lilies and hostas and transplanting them nearer to my hives can make a huge difference.

Lastly,  I've learned that John's natural calmness, especially in a potentially stressful situation like examining a new hive, is a priceless treasure for a high-strung person like myself. He really is my Homestud.

Do you have bees? Tell me about your experiences!

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  1. Bee keeping is so interesting. THanks for sharing this. Great info.

  2. Wow, this is amazing. I don't know of anyone who has kept bees in our city but it would be great to do so considering they are in decline. May I ask how you attracted the bees to your hive or did you have to get them from another bee keeper (sorry if this sounds really ignorant!)

    1. Hi Agy :) We purchased two 3-pound packages of bees with a queen and then re-homed them in our hives. The other way to do it would be capturing a wild swarm and re-homing them in a hive. Very good question!

  3. I love that you set your mind to something and do it! I have no experience with bee keeping, but the Iowa Honey Producer's display is a must see for me each year at the State Fair and I have known a past Honey Queen. So does that count for something? ;)

  4. lol, I LOVED this article, so funny. I've been wanting to have bees for years, but I live in a high-traffic area with no real yard. Not the best place. My aunt and her husband got bees, so I guess there's no way to scratch that itch quite yet, but good practice. Thanks for making me itchier, haha!

    1. Maybe you could get a hive tour from them?! It's really neat to see bees in action, and they are not dangerous like a lot of people think.

  5. I kept bees for years as a youngster. That was many years ago when a beekeeper and the bees were not under attack as they are in these times. It warms me to read your experiences and observations. I trust your time husbanding bees will lead you to an even deeper appreciation of how all is interconnected.

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