Permaculture blog

Session 8: Introduction to bee-keeping

Published by Sam Page on 11 June 2012

We all went to Amelia's place for this exciting session. Her friends Terry and Fee, who are professional bee-keepers enthralled us with a detailed account of the lives of bees: we learnt about the anatomy and life-cycles of the workers, queens and drones.









Terry explained why we rarely see honey bees in our gardens, how bees share information about the exact location of an abundant nectar source, the damaging effects of pesticides and why it is important to buy local, rather than imported honey.  We were thoroughly convinced of the latter by the delicate taste of the honey that Fee had brought for us to sample...

We also learned why smoke makes bees docile and, as this was another hands-on session, we all donned bee suits so that we could look inside some of the bee hives.










   Preparing to apply the smoke... 


                                      and Lorna inspecting a honey comb

We saw workers feeding on nectar and regurgitating it as honey, large-eyed drones, egg-laying queens and even evidence of varroa mites. Amelia and Fee showed us how to remove additional developing queens in order to prevent the colony from swarming.

Hopefully, Fee's delicious honey will soon be on sale at the new Marlborough Communities' Market.



Participants were each given a borage seedling to take home and plant in their gardens in order to attract bees and other beneficial insects.