Yesterday we took a full day beekeeping course! It was amazingly informative – not as textbook/formal as my last class (but that was SIX WEEKS LONG) – more in terms of great anecdotes and very area specific (NoVa) information.
Here are a few basics:
Honeybees are either female (queen or worker) or male (drone.) They all have extremely specific functions and look totally different. As you can see below honeybees are NOT bumblebees. (They are also not wasps, hornets, carpenter bees, etc.)
Honeybees need attention. Some beekeepers choose not to feed their hives. We will. Because we don’t want to risk them dying. They need to be medicated for the plethora of diseases they can get. Some can be fixed or treated (small hive beetles, nosema) other mean certain death (American foulbrood – you have to burn the entire hive.)\
In a few weeks my mom and I will pick up our nucs at the same location (also called a nucleus) which will be just like mini hives. Instead on 10 frames per super (the boxes) there will only be five. A nuc has a laying queen, tons of workers, drones, and eggs (called brood.) Basically it’s like a really awesome starter kit. We will transfer them into the new hives boxes we purchased from Mann Lake.
Anyways, the best part of the class was getting to play with the bees! Identifying queens (big butted fatties), checking for eggs, praying you don’t get stung. Here’s some photos!