One of my favorite things about our farm here in Walling, Tennessee, is the bee farm! Beekeeping is such an underrated process. It took me a long time to appreciate the beauty of honey bees, you know, once I got over my intense fear of being stung. Speaking of which, let me shoot you some truth…only females have “stingers”. However, a lot of female bees cannot even sting. Bees tend to sting to defend their nest, so most bees won't sting unless they are provoked or feel threatened. Your best bet is to just leave them alone, to protect yourself, and our environment, because honey bees are so beneficial. Just in case you already doubt me: they are essential for pollination of many fruit, vegetable and seed crops. Also, without bees pollinating them, a lot of plants would have no way to reproduce and would eventually just die out L.
Now, beekeeping on the farm. Did you know that the human collection of bees started over 10,000 years ago in South Africa (OMG, right?). People have been doing this for decades, yet people still underestimate the importance of these creatures. Check out these photos below… cool, right? There is something so calming about watching these bees working, interacting, and living. They really are like a colony, a family. Just a little bit about our bee farm: a domesticated bee colony is normally housed in a rectangular hive body, the honeycomb contains the eggs, larvae, pupae and food for the colony (I mean, they are just like us, working and feeding their families!). The outsides of the combs are primarily used for long-term storage of honey and pollen. This is where we collect the honey. Our bees produce a lot of it – and eventually we will sell it at the general store, we sell out every time, seriously… you have to try it!
It is important if someone is thinking about beekeeping that they do their research first. Swarming is a rare occurrence, and hopefully someone would know how to prepare for it. Obviously, the bee farmer would need protective clothing. If a colony swarms unexpectedly and the beekeeper does not manage to capture the resulting swarm, he is likely to harvest significantly less honey from that hive. Another important step is to make sure you have a safe location for the bees, as parasites can sometimes sneak in and take over, killing off the food supply, therefore not keeping the bees themselves alive. We hope you will check back as I plan to post more beekeeping updates from the farm, because I am obsessed with these little guys (and girls!).