The dream that is Wildflower Farm gets more awe inspiringly wonderful every day. Over the weekend, we got some bees and a beautiful hand built hive from our friends and bee mentors over at Summer Beez. You can find them on facebook on their page. They too are located in Berlin MA. I can’t say enough about their professionalism, their generosity of spirit, and their love of bees and sharing bees with others. They are also highly skilled and knowledgeable and I am so so happy that they have agreed to mentor me on this project. All my life, I have been making the five year plan to get out of the city to the country. I remember sitting in the car all through my early childhood planning the five year plan with my mother. Well, she finally got her 5 year plan dream an old dairy farm on a single acre in Lexington MA. As you can all imagine, I felt jipped. My five year plan dream that I thought we had been dreaming together looked more like Drumlin Farm, in Lincoln MA, one of my favorite places to visit as a child. Over this past weekend Summer Bees, has helped me add one more crucial piece to my menagerie on five acres. And now, my five year dream that turned out to be a thirty year dream has become somewhat complete. I couldn’t have finished it off though, without the help of my friends at Summer Bees.
The bees arrived to us courtesy of Summer Beez, from Virginia. The guys in the box are really quite gentle and docile being very young. They are an Italian Honey Bees. This variety is known to do quite well in this region of the country with our climate, though keeping bees through the winter is a daunting and difficult task.
The queen is lovely isn’t she? We still have not named her. But we want to. So if you have a suggestion for what her name should be, feel free to leave us a comment with your suggested name. The queen is a stranger to her hive of youthful minion bees, and it is best to keep them separated until they have acclimated to her smell for her protection. She is hung beneath them in her box with masking tape, between the little wax sliders. The cork is removed from her box so when she is ready she can come out and join her hive of younglings.
Once the queen is set up, the next level of the hive is put on and our friends at Summer Beez, showed us how to install them into the hive.
Bees eat, at least at this stage in their development a mixture of sugar and water. One cup of sugar to one cup water. This feeder is great especially for beginners as it minimizes interaction with the bees, as well as putting it in a place that is easy for the bees to access that they won’t have to defend from their competitors, which they would if we inserted a tray for feeding onto the outside.
Lastly the cover was put on just under the lid and over the feeding tray.
One day, if our bees thrive, they will require additional levels and our hive will look taller, like this. We start with 3 lbs of bees and a queen. We care for them carefully and make sure they are well fed, and we wait for their numbers to increase as they mature. We likely will not see much honey this autumn, but next year, if we can manage against all odds to keep them alive through the winter we could have as much as 40 lbs of honey from this one single hive.
Bees are very important creatures. Without them, we lose over a third of the food that we eat. They are dying off in obscene numbers and a food crisis will result world wide. It will be the small bee keepers like myself and Summer Beez, that help to stave off starvation for many. Our environment needs these creatures and to live off our environment we need them also. So, if you want to be a hero, take up this incredible hobby. You can help save the world. The more of us who keep bees, the less our coming food crisis will harm us all. I am proud to do my part. And I am so grateful for the wonderful guidance I am getting from Summer Beez. If you want to help save the world, you can order bees and a hive from Summer Beez, just like I did. There are many fabulous books you can purchase and many places to take classes so that you can have your own all natural fresh honey. And lastly, I just want to say, thank you Summer Beez, you are amazing!