Honey Bee Hollow, A sweet little ditty by Big Bear

 I remember the late spring and early summer days of clear blue skies with their wispy white clouds hanging, seeming still.

The light, warm breezes, carrying the scents of nature and pleasant days. Work and worries forgotten in the afternoon wonders of Nature.

Sitting on the old wood bench my Daddy made all those years ago. Rubbed smooth by all the sitting and talking we did since I was old enough to go along with him out here in the honey bee hollow.

That’s what my Daddy always called it, his honey bee hollow, back between the shed and the rolling fields that stretched as far as the eye could see.

It’s a magic place, where the honey bees live, back in honey bee hollow. Smells of honey and sunlight in the air and bees flying, busily going to and fro, curiously knowing from whence they came and where they go.

My Daddy started his hives back there when he was young and the honey bees swept his heart away. Mama always said she knew even then, the bees were his ‘other girls’ and there was no point in standing in the way.

I sit here now, just like I did back then, on this old wood bench watching the bees, buzzing softly, going about their terribly important business as though nothing else exists in the world but flowers and honeycomb.

I spent countless days working in honey bee hollow with my Daddy. He taught me just about anything a person could know about honeybees by those hives and sitting on that bench back in honey bee hollow.

In his late years, my Daddy couldn’t work the bees like we used to. It still gave him so much pleasure to come out and sit on the old wood bench though and listen to the bees, watching them coming and going.

It was out back in honey bee hollow here that my Daddy sat on the wood bench for the last time. He wanted to stay, he said, just a little bit longer. I told him he can stay as just as long as he wanted and I went on up to the shed to get some tools. When I came back, my Daddy was gone.

I walked up behind him, calling to him quietly, not wanting to startle him awake. Then, I saw the peace on his face and I knew my Daddy would be in honey bee hollow forever and ever.

Now I come to honey bee hollow and sit on this old wood bench and I listen close to the bees and the breeze. Sometimes, I can still hear my Daddy’s voice, telling me just about all there is to know about honey bees.

What’s the point?

So, the Bee Smart beekeeping project and that goes into it here…   What’s the point of it all when there are so many other beekeeping websites out there?  I ask myself this every so often.

I am always come back to the notion that I believe that there are things about bees and beekeeping that can be introduced and communicated differently, if not better in general.

The one thing about the web is that it contains so much information yet in many ways, so little context.  People can do a Google search on seconds to get information yet still not understand it because it lacks context and perspective.  In some cases, it does get presented with context and perspective but sadly, in a way that leaves people no better off or with any better understanding than before.  In some cases, even in a worse place.

Also, Bee Smart beekeeping project is here to entertain and inform anyone who wants to understand bees and beekeeping better not just a specific group.  I want to help non beekeepers understand every bit as much as I want beekeepers of any skill level to understand.

I just hope to do so in a way that isn’t necessarily the same way as everywhere else on the internet.  That is from the perspective of beekeeping as a professional trade.    The Point of presenting information to you about bees and beekeeping isn’t so much as to influence anyone to being pro this or anti that.  It’s more of a “here’s what it is, here’s how it works, here are the pro’s and con’s of it.”

The goal is to help people be successful.  To be successful in anything to do with bees or beekeeping, you have to be informed and you have to be interested.  The Bee Smart approach to achieving being informed is to provide you with as accurate and honest information as possible.

The way we address being interested is to present the information in an entertaining (we hope) way.  When people are having fun with something, they pay more attention and usually remember it better.

Anything you can access on this website is zero cost to you.  Listen to the podcasts, watch videos, read articles and posts, download useful documents, interact on the forums.  No charge.

I have a Patreon page for people who beelieve in what I am doing here and their support helps make it possible to make everything available at no upfront cost.  I hope to get more Patreon supporters so that I can offer better quality content and more of it.  In order to get more people to become Patreon supporters, they have to beelieve in the Bee Smart beekeeping project and what it’s trying to achieve also.

Thanks to everyone who is visiting us here and finding this content useful, informative and entertaining.  Thank you greatly to our Patreon supporters for continuing to help us make it happen.

 

Awesome content coming soon

I can finally break the news!

There is a webcomic coming to the Bee Smart beekeeping project website.  Of course, the comic will be titled, “Beehooligans”.

Look for it to be posted on a regular basis and more fun and information about all things bees and beekeeping to your heads.

More in-depth information is available for our supporters on Patreon and as always, it will appear on Patreon at least the day before being posted public here.

Join our cast of characters as they define and re-define the term, “Beehooligans”.

There is no contest, all bees rock

Sometimes looking at particular articles or watching videos, etc… a person might get the impression that some folks want you to beelieve that some bees are more important than others or that some species of bees are more important to expend effort and resources on than others.

Of course that’s ridiculous.  I know it, you know, and deep down, even those people know it too.  All bees are pollinators, true.  Some species are more effective and others are more efficient.  Some specialize in specific types of plants and others aren’t so limited, but they all get the job done one way or another.

Some bees considered native bees can bee fantastic pollinators that often get overlooked and not much attention.  Others, like honey bees, get lots of attention but get the “outsider” treatment because they are considered feral or non-native.

Why is it that honey bees get so much attention even when other bees may be more effective or efficient pollinators?  In large part because of honey.  Honey bees not only pollinate, they selectively or specifically pollinate and they produce harvest-able stuffs like honey and beeswax in great quantities.  They are also extremely manageable, much more so than most other types of bees.

Not that makes honey bees “better” or more worth saving or getting attention.  It just means that they offer something unique to human society that is extremely desirable.

Bumblebees, honey bees, mason bees, alkaline bees, squash bees and all the other bees are awesome insects and provide a super necessary service in pollination that allows people to have crops in abundance.

Let’s not focus on one or another.  Instead let’s show them all some bee love.

Bee Smart: Buzzed About Bees

Starting Saturday August 12 9:30 -10:30am at Chick-Fil-A in Bellevue, NE.  Every second Saturday of each month afterward. Come on down and talk to a professional apiarist.  Ask your bee related questions.  Find out about beekeeping, honey, pollination, beeswax and anything else that has to do with bees that you’ve got on your mind.

Sit down with Tony “Big Bear” Sandoval from the Bee Smart beekeeping project and the Beehooligans podcast to talk about anything and everything bees.

Want to get started in beekeeping?  Come on down.  Have questions about cooking with honey?  Come on down.  Want to know about making beeswax crafts?  Come on down.

Got a story to share about bees?  We want to hear it.    Get a little something to munch on or drink, and sit down with us to get all the buzz on everything bees.

The Bee Smart Beekeeping Seasonal Calendar

Honey bee colonies have seasons.  They are the same seasons we observe in general, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  The bees observe the timing and changing of the seasons a bit differently though than we do.

We talk about certain beekeeping tasks and chores that should done seasonally.  The first Spring inspection, the last Fall inspection.  Treatments for various environmental issues and potential pest problems, etc…

When is Spring for Bees though?  When does it actually beeginning?  Is it a date on the calendar?  In my experience,  I would like to suggest that it starts when the bees sense it and act upon it.  More of observing certain environmental conditions and the innate responses that are triggered in the colony in response to those conditions.

For me, Spring doesn’t really start until colonies get serious about drone production.  During the Winter and what I call “pre-Spring” there are good weather conditions to get inspections done to check on brood production, feed stores and colony buildup.  Spring isn’t actually kicked in though until we see the colony make a serious effort at drone production.

When the first batch of drones are capped I can fairly reasonably say that Spring is here and in about 2 weeks swarms might get started and virgin queens will be able to begin mating.

Swarms don’t usually leave until virgin queens are about to emerge.  Virgin queens can’t get mated until there is an abundance of drones.  “Abundant” being a relative term depending on an area’s population density of colonies.

So, first drones, then virgin queens, then swarms.  Spring has sprung indeed.  Our hive inspections,  manipulations and activities fall in somewhere among these beehaviors.

That’s the beeginning of the year for me.  To go to the opposite end, Fall, what do the bees tell me about that?

Once again, the colony tells me when Fall arrives with drones.  The colony stops or dramatically reduces drone brood production and actively starts culling the drone population.  Fall has slipped up on us.

No more drones means no more queen rearing (unless something goes awry).  The active beekeeping year has come to it’s eventual winding down.  Once again, those timely inspections, manipulations and control measures will be fit in among the bees drawing down the colony population and makeup.

Somewhere in between Bee Spring and bee Fall is bee Summer.  How do the bees indicate that Summer has begun?  Good question.  The most obvious indicators of Summer in a bee hive are the colony teaching it’s population peak and switching the focus from primarily brood buildup to foraging and honey production\stores.

So with bees as with with everything else, “to all things there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven…”

When planning those beekeeping activities, Maybee consider is it time for it based on a date or by the bees?  Could bee that the bees will have something to tell us about that.

 

 

Bee Smart Presents: Tees for Bees

We are engaged in planning the first ever mini golf tournament to generate revenues and increase awareness about bees and beekeeping.

Some of the revenues will be donated to the Nebraska Extension program for Bee research and beekeeper education.

This, the first tournament, will bee held in the Omaha, NE greater metro area.  Subsequent tournaments may be held in other locations or multiple locations simultaneously as things progress.

The Bee Smart “Tees for Bees” mini golf tournament is currently in planning and details will be released when they beecome available.