On November 8, 2022, Morrisburg Branch will be welcoming two of our adventurous library staff to share their experiences with beekeeping.
Casual Support Assistant Kim has kept bees for the past five years as a hobby during her retirement. She finds it an interesting, peaceful, and “sweet” activity, and finds bees to be fascinating creatures. She uses traditional Langstroth hives (https://beebuilt.com/pages/langstroth-hives), and has had varying degrees of success in her endeavours. She has experienced honey flows, swarms, wax moths, re-queening, and has lost all her bees in four out of the five winters she has been beekeeping. Hive death over the winter is not unusual and was particularly bad in 2022, with most beekeepers across the country losing their hives.
Library Services Assistant Ian is a newcomer to beekeeping, having started in May, 2022. He chose the Layens method of beekeeping - using a natural, non-traditional hive that is horizontal rather than vertical, and which more closely mimics how bees build their hives in the wild (https://www.beeculture.com/the-layens-hive/). The method focuses on “letting the bees be” as opposed to using human intervention in the hive to maximize honey production. Ian’s hives are thriving, and he is hoping they will make it through this winter. The biggest struggle for a first-time beekeeper is to figure out how, when, and whether to do things like feed the bees, open up the hive, try to locate the queen, take honey off, and get them ready for winter.
Ian and Kim have both done extensive research before embarking on their adventure and have concluded that beekeeping is a lot like parenting. There are many varied opinions on how to properly care for your charges, and in the end, you must make your own decisions based on your instincts and experience.
If you are curious to learn more don’t hesitate to come to the program. In the meantime, here are some fun facts about bees:
- One colony of bees can contain as many as 50,000 to 100,000 bees
- Bees are the only insects in the world that make food that humans can eat
- Honey has natural preservatives and has been found intact in ancient Egyptian tombs
- A honeybee can fly 24 km in an hour at a speed of 15 mph. Its wings beat 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute
- The average worker bee makes about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
- Bees make a sticky substance called propolis from tree resin that is like bee glue, to plug holes in their hives and keep their frames together
- Although bears do like honey, they prefer to eat bee larvae (probably for the protein)
Have we sparked your curiosity? Checkout some of our Beekeeping resources here:
- Beekeeping for Beginners
Beekeeping for Beginners is a simple, step-by-step guide that helps you learn the fundamentals of modern beekeeping.
- Common Sense Natural Beekeeping
Sustainable, Bee-friendly Techniques to Help Your Hives Survive and Thrive
- Keeping Bees With A Smile
Principles and Practice of Natural Beekeeping
- Wisdom for Beekeepers
A collection of 500 beekeeping tips, illustrated throughout with specially commissioned linocut prints.