Sunday, May 23, 2021

Our Bee Keeping Fun

Bees are not only fascinating but serve an essential role in the propagation and continuation of flowering plants, trees, shrubs and crops. Without them many of our food sources would not be able to thrive and in fact survive. Crucial on the pollination of many vegetable,  fruit and berry crops, without them we would eventually be reduced to the most basic of diets not healthy or sustainable for our own future.

Due to climate change and pesticides the numbers of all bee varieties and other critical insects such as butterflies  are dramatically decreasing and already affecting gardens and farms. Our backyards and gardens were once filled with the abundance of these frequently misunderstood little creatures.

Coincidentally with this international recognition and celebration of bees in both the dedication of a special day of recognition, my own family was  actively involved that very week in the saving and caring for a bee colony in our own little world. 

Our oldest daughter, Terin,  has always been interested in beekeeping and involved in making a bee home in her backyard in hopes that she and her partner might invite in a wild bee swarm looking for an inviting home. Unfortunately it never happened naturally and their attempts to purchase an established hive was unsuccessful due to overwhelming demand in their area.

So when a wild swarm flew in and began to bunch into formation my husband, son and I rushed into action and our desire to finally give her that wish of a bee colony of her own.

Not having a beekeepers suit, we created one out of an old tyvek "suit" used in applying insulation materials in our home building business. My new and never used "Mr.Clean" rubber gloves, my husband's super building tape to close gaps between gloves and suit and a quickly cut wire mesh face protector to fit in suits hood plus plastic goggles completed our son Blake's ensemble. 

With the use of a ladder, a lawn mowing grass receptacle bag to "catch" the swarm into, he had them collected in minutes  We had borrowed a neighbors discarded wooden bee box to hopefully get the queen and her workers a temporary home.

It was so great to be able to transport the swarm in its container safely and thoroughly further contained in a super taped and sealed large cardboard box. 

Our daughter was thrilled to finally have a colony of her own and quickly ordered a prefabricated bee hive kit online to be pieced together over the next few days to provide the much needed space for this wonderful hive. 

It was incredibly exciting and rewarding for all of us!

Pieces as they arrive in kit and units as she put the box layers into a suitable arrangement. 

Making bee syrup for food.

Piecing kit pieces together bit by bit using pre-cut pieces.
Finishing it day by day then-sealing it and then
Transferring our initial bee box into her own larger hive structure.  

This allowed the queen and all her worker bees to transfer on their own from the "super" we provided (and unknowingly loaded upside down for the bees!) Terin remedied that of course 🀣

These lovely bees were amazingly docile and so gentle when they landed on her as she worked 

🐝 Our little 6 year old granddaughter even commemorated the occasion with artwork!  🐝 

Oh, the blessings no matter the challenges! We are grateful we could do this for our daughter!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands


Marilyn McLeod @ Pink Paper Cottage said...

Oh that is such a wonderful thing you did for your daughter! When we lived in the country up in Washougal, WA, there was one time we witnessed a swarm of bees come to one of our huge oak trees, and lived there awhile, and then our neighbor called someone to come and get them. That was so amazing. My son in law and his mom and step dad, are beekeepers up in Battle Ground, WA and have gone from maybe 2 hives to 50! that many is quite a busy business.. over the last few years, I think they've diminished some. Like you said, bees are disappearing and that's not good at all. It would be neat to have just one or two hives, to provide ourselves with honey. I LOVE local, raw and unfiltered honey. It is so good for us! That must have been an exciting day! Marilyn

Michele Bilyeu said...

Very very exciting and thrilling to be able to do this for her. Loved love your own stories and history. Always fascinates me how people I get to know online have interesting things in common. LOVE that so much ❤ πŸ’• πŸ’—

julieQ said...

OH I love it!!! Thank you for sharing, and I am especially interested, for we too have bees in the backyard! They are nicely settled in their wood box...I love them!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh Julie Q! I love that! How wonderful to be bee keeping!!!

Winifred said...

That's wonderful Michelle. How amazing to be able to do that for her. Thanks for sharing this with us.

We would love to keep bees but not feasible in towns even with a decent garden the council won't allow it.

I have planted seeds which produce flowers especially for the bees as so many wild honey & bumble bees die off through lack of food. You've reminded me I have another packet to plant!