My favorite thing is to go to the local beekeeper store and get honey. It is so delicious, and I can use it for so many things from cereal to elderberry syrup. I love wandering the store and looking at all the bee-themed gifts, books about beekeeping, and the hives. My husband and I would go and discuss how amazing it would be to raise our own bees, get our very own honey, and have a great way to fertilize the garden. But we know nothing about bees.
O.K. maybe we know a little bit like they can sting, they make honey (Yum!), they are in danger due to pesticide use, they can help pollinate the garden and well they buzz. Other than that we were at a loss as to what to do with bees. This is why we solved the problem in the best way possible. We bought bee hives!!! I know, I know you don’t need to call me out, I realize I said we bought hives, not bees. There is a really good reason for that. We want to get local bees which will be ready a little later this month. In the meantime, we have hives and some pretty paint for them.
Now is the time however for us to learn all we can, and while we are learning I will be sharing the information with you guys! You will get to see firsthand how we screw up everything unless of course we succeed and have no issues. Today we are going to look at what we have learned so far.
- There are 3 types of bees: Worker, Drone, and Queen
- The Drone is the only male bee and he is used for mating (as it should be 😉 )
- The Worker Bee is of course female as is the Queen
- Bees in one hive are all related
- The number of days from egg to adult is as follows
- 21 days for a worker
- 24 days for a drone
- 16 days for a Queen
- Worker bees, not the Queen determine the types of resources needed by the hive.
- The workers also decide if the colony needs to reproduce and form a swarm.
- Worker bees can produce eggs but can not mate
- The diet of a female larva determines if it turns into a Queen or not.
Our goals for these hives are to produce enough honey for our use and to have our garden pollinated well. We are excited to add the bees this year and hope the kids learn to love them as well. This however is not the only new addition to the homestead.
Like I said we may have gotten in over our heads and not just because we are getting bees, but also because we are raising meat chickens. We were blessed by another local farmer who sold us some of her meat birds after last week’s tragedy. This has allowed us to stay on schedule with raising our own meat birds. We have raised turkeys for the last 2 years and have slaughtered in the fall. When we raise turkeys we slaughter 2-4 at a time so it is not an all-day or even multiple-day event. Now however we are going to be raising 15 mean birds all of which will be ready for slaughter in about 7 weeks. 15 birds!!! Yup, we are in over our heads!
Oh and in case that didn’t seem like enough to add we are also getting Goats. So not only are we going to be learning how to take care of bees, attempt to slaughter 15 meat birds, but we are also going to get goats that we hope will provide us with yard care and milk. We have jumped into the deep end this year. We have however made some new friends and connections with those that know more than us. Having a network that we can reach out to makes everything seem less daunting. Now that you have seen what is in store for us in the next few months do you agree? Are we in over our heads? Or are we just crazy enough to do it all? I hope everyone keeps coming back and checking in on us and the adventures all these new things provide for us. Wish us Luck!!