To Bee or Not To Bee

I love bees! They are so fascinating. Of course, I also respect them which is very important.

Through the Master Gardener Volunteer program at OSU and Denise Ellsworth (queen bee), I have learned a lot about bees. There are many different types, and they each have a job to do in nature.

This is a wonderful resource for identification.

Learning about bees in a classroom is one thing, but observing them is quite another. I love to watch them bop from flower to flower gathering the beautiful, yellow pollen on their legs and realizing they are pollinating my garden. They are a miracle of nature!

Recently, there have been more publications about the decreasing bee populations. However, I don’t feel that most people understand the urgent need to help the bees survive. I know many people who would kill a bee rather than observe it. Yes, if you are allergic to bee stings, absolutely stay away from them. Mass murder, however, is unnecessary. We all hear the stories of killer bees and how they are coming to attack us. This hyperbole is not helpful for the cause of saving bees. What is helpful is education. Before I took Denise’s classes, I was not aware of the different species of bees and what they do. Understanding the nature of bees and their importance may help people understand that they are not all out to kill us!

Well–I got off on a tangent–I started this post talking about my love of bees. So, let’s get back to that!

Keeping and caring for bees is an art.

Since I love honey and making my own candles, etc. from beeswax, I thought it might be beneficial for me to think about having some bee hives. I have been stung by bees many times and find that a poultice of baking soda (a palm full of baking soda with a little water added to make a paste) is the best thing to take away the hurt. So, I’m not afraid of them. I’m just afraid of the cost and responsibility of them. I have heard that it is a costly venture with little return, but profit is not what I’m after here. I would mainly use the product for us and sell what we can’t use. Although the cost is a concern, it would not be the main issue for me to not keep bees. It comes down to anything new I want to do.

I’m afraid I’ll mess it up, so I don’t start!

This is ridiculous, not that I would mess up–of course, I will. The ridiculous part is the fear. Fear holds me back from doing many things. I think this is one thing I would like to address as we start our adventure in Maine.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!

So–before I dive into beekeeping or any other new thing I want to do, I will need to research and talk to others who have been through it.

Here are some resources I can consider:

Pollinator Quick Guide

Beekeeping for Beginners

Flow (This is a commercial site. I haven’t explored it intensively, but it looks like a good one for beginners.)

Ebook from Flow

I also could visit some people who own beehives near me. I am lucky because we have an apiary in our town. Since we are going to be in Maine this summer, I can check out beekeeping resources there. Here are a few resources I can explore.

Maine State Beekeepers Association

Wise Beekeeping

Maine Extension Resources

There are many books you can find at your local library. This is one of my all time favorite books. It’s fiction, but it gives you a lovely picture of caring for bees.

Well, I think that’s a good start for a beginner. I don’t want to overwhelm myself. I will return to this topic when we are in Maine. Since we are considering moving there, I would like to research apiaries in that area.

See you in the next post!


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