Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photos from the Beekeeping Class

Thanks to Addie Broyles,writer for the Austin American-Statesman, we have some wonderful photos of the beekeeping class that took place November 14. If you're considering taking the class, see below to get an idea for what it is all about.
I always start classes with a brief discussion of types of bees, the bee life cycle, the parts of the hive, and the types of honey to be found in central Texas.

We then suit up!

Next, we go out to the teaching hive and light the torch.  Many students are surprised to learn we have to use a torch to get the smoker going.  Raw cotton wads and cedar don't light easily!
We work down, super by super (super is the name for the upper sections of the bee box), frame by frame, checking the status of the hive.

In the uppermost part of the hive the bees were depositing new honey, which will be dried out  and capped over the coming days and weeks.

This Praying Mantis was just hanging out near the hive.  I've seen her and her friends there before many times, but never knew why.  A few minutes into the lesson she was knawing on a bee.  I never knew prior to seeing it that PM's eat bees.
This visit to the hives left me with one major healthy my bees are!  Watching my girls I felt they were wiggling their fat abdomens just to make the other bugs jealous!

Just as I was contemplating the beauty and health of the hive, I smell a foul odor which indicated to me that alarm pheremones had been "set off."  In any case, the bees decided to come out to fight!

Despite a few angry bees, and a hungry praying mantis, we finally found what we were looking for. From deep in the hive we pulled beautiful, tangy, and wonderfully delicious honey!  Students each took home a little.  Now that's a great souvenir!

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