Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bees in Our Backyard

On April 19th my husband and I received a beehive as a birthday gift. A friend of us built it from scratch out of wood. The style of hive he built is called a top bar hive. Until I received this gift I did not know much about bees. Frankly, I was a little afraid of them. So were the children as you can see from the very skeptical look on my daughter's face....

From a library book we learned that this type of hive is quite common in Africa. Beekeepers like it because the bees build the honeycomb directly onto a set of slats/bars that lay across the top of the box. See pictures below.
This makes harvesting honey quite easy. You also get a lot more beeswax for making candles that way. I am thrilled by the idea of making candles. I think this would be a great activity to do with children in the cold winter months.


The first set of pictures shows the bees being put in their new home on the day of their arrival in our backyard April 19th.


The second set shows the hive less than a month later. Watching the bees every day, I came to a much better understanding of the phrase "busy as a bee". They are such cool animals. The children are very excited. Every day they run outside and check on the progress of our new pets. 10 000 of them... Contrary to what most people seem to believe, honey bees are very peaceful. Nobody in the family has been stung or bothered by them. They go about their work every day never paying any attention to us watching or even standing close by.






We even got a little lick of honey when we opened the hive. Yummy!
I will keep you posted on the first harvest!

3 comments:

FairiesNest said...

How wonderful! We want to have a couple of hives one day too!

Lucky Pebble said...

That is so cool!!!

germandolls said...

They are truly amazing creatures! Someone pointed out to me that I should keep epi-pens around the house...