Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bee keeping Workshop 27th November

 
We are really enjoying these workshops and find real pleasure in teaching people about the possibilities of keeping a hive of bees in their yard in the town or on their acreage property. 
At the beginning of the day, as they register and fill in their name tags, chatting nervously among themselves, they are all feeling trepidation about what the day holds for them. Some are excited, some are distinctly nervous, some are ready to let the day flow around them.
Each person is here for a reason, but they are not all here for the same reason. Some folks are facing difficult issues within their lives, some are needing a hobby to take their mind off something else, and some are just curious to learn about bees. Some are taking up this hobby late in life, and some are keen and curious children.

The table set up on the side verandah for morning tea and lunch.

And one of the seating areas for enjoying a leisurely lunch and discussing lots of new bee knowledge between each other. Friendships are made and barriers are broken down.

The morning sessions move along at a fast pace with the theory segment; learning about the parts of the hive, equipment and tools and how to use them, making frames and placing wax foundations in the frames, and learning the skill of extracting honey from the hives, how to store and how to use or market their honey.

After lunch and a stroll around the farm and gardens, the bee suits are donned and it's time to get down to the hands on part of bee handling.
This is the part that causes most excitement as the new experience of bee-ing surrounded by thousands of bees can be daunting at first.

Just the feeling of bee-ing completely hemmed in by the face shield and bee suit causes some to feel slightly apprehensive, but thus far, everyone has accepted the sensation and settled well into the tasks at hand.

The day was a warm 27C degrees. Perfect for lifting lids and checking the state of each hive.
A new queen was introduced into a hive that was found to be without a queen.

She was a surplus queen that we had acquired after uniting two small hives together earlier.  She was first placed into the queen cage with four or five worker bees to care for her. The little cage was then placed into the queenless hive, where they will eat through the candy plug, and by then, are introduced to their new colony.

By the end of the day everyone has enough knowledge and is confident to begin their own apiary. 

Melanie ordered a new brood box and was here to collect it the next day. She will take it home to paint it with three coats of paint before bringing it back to us to fill with a nucleus colony of bees that we will have waiting for her.
The people that we have met, their stories, their personalities....
Many new life long friendships have been made. This is not something I ever imagined we might be doing, but we are so thankful that we are able to share this wonderful art of bee-keeping.



11 comments:

  1. What a lovely time everyone would have had, Sally. I am sure that everyone who attended really appreciated your input. We had a similar workshop here at the beginning of the year for our simple living group. I didn't go as we don't keep bees any more but those who went along learned a lot.

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    1. Chel, it was lovely to receive kind thanks and good feedback in the days following, so the participants must be enjoying their busy bee keeping day.

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  2. I would be one of the nervous ones Sally. I would be scared of doing something wrong and hurting the bees. I wonder if I would be scared about being surrounded by so many bees? I don't think so because when I am gardening in my keyhole garden and the plants therein are full of flowers I am surrounded by bees. I have my head stuck in amongst the plants working away and the bees just buzz all around me. I like to identify the different types of bees working around me. My favourite bee visitor is the Teddy Bear bee, though I have never seen one visit my keyhole garden, I have seen solitary Teddy Bear Bees visiting my duranta bush.

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    1. Oh Sherri, sounds like you would be in your element suited up and getting in among the bees. You wouldn't need to worry about hurting them as soon as you learned the basics. I don't know the Teddy Bear bees, but am about to look it up. :)

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    2. Sherri, thanks for telling us about the Teddy Bear bee. I researched and found the cute furry little thing, but it's found along the East coast of Australia and not in SA.

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  3. Sally your work shop looks and sounds wonderful, I would love to get to a couple of your work shops next year, maybe even a bee one.

    xx

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    1. Lets do a sour-dough workshop Emma! ;)

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  4. I find bees fascinating, Sally. For Christmas last year, our family got a native bee hive. We helped to split it from the original and set it up in our garden. I could sit and watch these little creatures all day! I love to see them taking off and returning again to their little entrance. We have lots of honeybees visiting with the flowers here. Blue-banded bees too. Once we even saw (and heard) a carpenter bee. So huge, It sounded like a mini helicopter!! Your bee workshops would be amazing to come along too...wish I lived nearby! Meg:)

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    1. Meg, the pollinators are all so interesting aren't they? And there are so many species of them. I've never seen a Carpenter bee. I wonder if they are native to your area of Australia. I have lots to research on Mr Google. :)

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  5. It looks like an awesome day, wonderful that you have so much interest and can share what you know. I took in everything you told me (in blog form) and think of you as I'm counting the turns of the honey extractor handle :)

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    1. Oh that's funny Liz. We extracted a bit of honey yesterday, and it's now so easy with our electric four frame extractor. During our workshops I'm careful to explain about spinning lightly on the first side to avoid breaking the wax foundation. ;)

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