Carpe Diem: Bees!

Posted on Posted in 30 by 30

This was probably a bit of a cheating ‘goal’, as it is not uncommon for me to overextend myself, especially when it comes to extracurricular activities. But I meant it more as a reminder to take up good opportunities as they come and not turn away ‘gift horses’ in my life because I am shy, socially anxious or risk-averse.

Hive BoxesAlmost no sooner had I published the list as I discovered the University (where I work) has just started offering beekeeping classes! AMAZING! I signed right up! It is only a 5 week, 1hr a week, training. And a couple of my colleagues from work are also joining in (as it is free for staff & students).

With only one week under my belt so far, this has already been an amazing experience! Our teacher is brilliant and didn’t mind being interrupted to patiently answer all of our many curious questions. In the first short hour, we learned about the different types of honeybees, how long they live, what they can produce (did you know they can make silk??!), the tools and costumes we will be using/wearing, the structure of a bee box, the proper way to take honey from the box, and lots and lots and lots of other things! I came home and jabbered at Stuart for OVER an hour about all the things I’d learned. So excited to go out to the hives next week.¬† Will keep you posted on how that goes (hopefully with photos!)

Top facts I learned this week:

  • Queen bees are ‘told’ what sort of baby bee to have (ie. for a new queen, a drone, or a worker) based on the size and shape of the comb that the worker bees make. So really the worker bees (who know everything about what the hive needs) decide how many and what kind of bees are produced.
  • Worker bees (who are all female) can only lay unfertilized eggs (which can only grow into drones (males). All drones are born from unfertilized eggs. [My colleague said – like Jesus!]
  • If a mouse invades a bee hive, the bees can kill it (by stinging the mouse, which kills them as well – to save the hive!), but they can’t tear it apart or carry it out of the hive, so they cover it in propolis, essentially mummifying it (so it doesn’t decay and destroy the rest of the hive). NEAT!

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