Doug and I have an embarrassing secret with respect to our beekeeping. The subject is very sensitive, and it keeps coming up in casual conversation. I thought it was best to blog about it and get it out in the open. Here is our secret shame: We haven’t been able to harvest honey from our bees. Continue reading
This week is the one year anniversary of the Married With Bees blog. In one year, 35 posts totaling over 35,000 words have been written. What is more astounding is that some people actually read some of those posts. The site had 4,000 page views and 1,700 visitors from all over the globe. Thank you to everyone who took the time to read any of my posts. The fact that anyone besides my parents reads this blog is a miracle to me. I think my parents are required by law to read what I write. The hospital made them sign a paper when I was born. Continue reading
The last six weeks were not good for the bees. Our queens kept vacating their thrones, and we were left struggling to keep our colonies healthy while they tried to make new queens. We have all the elements of a hit HBO series within our bee yard: restless queens, villains (in the form of small hive beetles), sexual intrigue (Will the virgin queens get mated?) and oppressive natural forces in the form of never ending rain. Continue reading
Friends frequently ask me , “What happens to your bees in the winter?” What happens is an epic struggle to keep the bees alive. Some people say you aren’t a beekeeper until you get your first hive full of bees through the winter. If you buy new bees every year because your bees from the previous year died, then you aren’t really beekeeping. If you are a skilled beekeeper, your bees should have a better chance of survival than “the bees in the trees” also known as feral honey bees.
Christmas is just around the corner, and many of you may have started thinking about what to buy your friends and family for Christmas. If you have a beekeeper on your list, I am here to help you. Continue reading
People love to ask questions when they find out that we started keeping bees. One of the most common questions is, “When will you start selling honey?” That question is usually followed by the comment, “Local honey is really expensive. You can make a lot of money.” In our part of the Midwest, local honey sells for anywhere between $8 and $12 for a 1 pound bottle, and those prices are typically set by hobby beekeepers who sell mostly at places like farmers markets. If you read my previous blog post, you will know that hobby beekeepers aren’t getting rich on their honey. The question that people should be asking is, “Why is the grocery store honey so cheap?” The answer to that question will probably shock you. Continue reading
Beekeeping has changed me. I have never been good at observing what is happening around me. I am the person who doesn’t notice that someone has new glasses, a new haircut, or an amputated limb. Months usually pass before I realize a building along my commute has been demolished. I become deeply engrossed in my thoughts and miss what is going on around me, but the bees are changing me. Now I pay attention to flutters in the grass because the movement could be caused by bees on clover. Weather forecasts suddenly hold my interest. I notice the progression of wildflower blooms because wildflowers feed the bees. The fact that bees make me more aware of the natural world may not come as a surprise, but this new sense of awareness has also spilled over into other aspects of my life including my reading of the Bible. Until I began keeping bees, I never realized how frequently honey and bees are mentioned in the Bible. Continue reading