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Beekeeping Class – Week 1

I have a joke for you. What came first – the chicken or the bee? The chicken wanna-bee!  ha ha ha ha

Anyway, I’m happy to report that my first (of five) beekeeping classes was last night. It was wonderful. I still haven’t decided if I have the energy to keep bees or not — that’s why I’m taking the class. I live in a small city lot at the edge of downtown (with chickens, cats and a dog). I’m pretty sure I can find a spot for the bees but want to make sure I can make the commitment before I jump in.

The reasons I want bees:

  • To pollinate my veggies and flowers
  • I like having pets with benefits
  • They’d bring me one step closer to being self sustaining (in town)
  • I’m not going lie – I also think hives are a beautiful garden accessory

Below are some snippets from instructors Dave and Jim. If you want to know more, you should really sign up to take the Master Beekeeper Apprentice Level course. There’s another session that starts on Monday, February 27, 2012.

To be a successful beekeeper:

  1. Take a class
  2. Join a local beekeeping club/organization
  3. Find a mentor (from local beekeeping club)
  4. Subscribe to a magazine like Bee Culture or American Bee Journal
Other helpful hints/tips/wisdom
  • Beware of chatrooms, books, videos and articles offering advice on beekeeping that were not written for your specific area (especially the PNW folks since we’re cool and wet)
  • Beekeepers are very opinionated passionate about how things should be done & pronounced
  • Bees have FIVE eyes. The two big ones you can see and three smaller ones.
  • The Queen bee ‘gets busy’ with the drones from other hives – she may even hook up with as many as twelve in ‘mating flight!’
  • The Drone’s sexual organs break off inside the Queen and the Drone dies
  • Fertilized eggs are the Worker bees (females) and unfertilized eggs become the Drones (males)
  • In the fall the women kick the Drones out of the hive to die (and for some reason I think this is funny)
  • Some people swear that getting stung helps their arthritis – another reason to keep bees around!
  • Bees produce honey, propolis (a glue) and wax
  • Bees tend to be older and grumpier starting in August and may be more inclined to sting
  • Oh, and they can sense fear/nervousness and get agitated
  • If you suddenly smell a banana/rose scent, you’ve pissed the bees off and you should stop what you’re doing
  • Bees don’t like the way we smell. It’s best to mask your human scent by rubbing peppermint leaves all over your body (ha ha ha) OR simply shower before handling the hive
  • Be cautious if you decide to use natural wax frames in your hives. The wax comes from other hives and you don’t know the health of those hives.

I can’t wait to see what the next class brings. I feel that I learned TONS and that makes me very happy.


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m really interested in how these classes go for you. I’m moving back to the PDX burbs this spring and am interested in bee-keeping down the road.


    January 11, 2012
    • Jenni,
      I highly recommend taking a class if you’re interested. I’m learning a lot about bees already! I’ll continue to post my class takeaways – mostly so I can remember what they are later.


      January 15, 2012
  2. That sounds like a fun class to take. Good luck if you decide to have bees. I have a neighbor who has them and shares the honey! And I am sure the bees come to our place which is a good thing!


    January 15, 2012
  3. Great site. Enjoyed reading the article. Stop by and see over three hundred hive designs and many DIY projects.


    February 18, 2012

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