Morning Meanderings… Spending Time With BEES

Good morning.  😀

By the time you read this I should be on my way to the cities to join my friends for a bike ride this morning for MS.  I left town at 5 am, and the ride starts at 8 am. 

Last Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to go and hang out with my friend Amanda who has just started Bee Keeping with her husband.  I can not lie, once I seen her in that bee- outfit… I knew I had to go and check this out.  Lucky for me, she understood my crazy thirst for knowledge and invited me into the hive…

literally.  😛

The had just bought more bees and would be moving them into their new homes.  I came over to help. 

This is a picture of me (left) and Amanda (right).  There are the bees they had just purchased.  They had bought four of these boxes and we were going to place two of them in their new homes.  Amanda says each box contains around 10,000 bees.


This is the boxes that the bees will be placed in. I am sure there is a better name than “boxes” I just do not know it… 😀  The smoker thing in the background helps to mellow the bees as soon we will be letting them out of the boxes you seen in the first picture and dumping them in their new homes. 

Inside the boxes are these slats where the bees will make the honey.  The section to the front with the two holes is for a liquid we pour in that the bees will drink and it keeps then from getting ill or infected by mites and dying.  (I hope I am remembering this right).  This is a new unused bee box, that is why it looks so clean.


In each of those boxes you seen in the first picture is a Queen in her own little box.  Crazy right?  She has to be protected at all cost.  Amanda here will now replace the wooden cork in the end of this little box with marshmallow.  Yup, you read that right.  Then, once placed in her new home… in about three days the worker bees will eat the marshmallow enough to set her free among them.  All hail the Queen!


After Amanda and I thoroughly spray the bee boxes with a sugar water that makes it hard for them to fly… we pour them into their new home. 


After the bees are in the box, Amanda carefully replaced the slots where they will go to work making the honey!

Just playing with the camera… I feel like an Oompa Loompa.  😀


Before the lid goes back on this big hunk of food goes on top and I can not remember what it is called.  😀  This will feed the worker bees, who in turn feed the Queen for the next several weeks.  When the weather warms up the bees will produce their own food.


This is one of the bee homes that they started several weeks ago… you can see on the central grids that work is being done. 



Amanda says that every few weeks you need to check these for a couple of things.  1.  You want to remove these little sacks you find on them which I am told is the worker bees making a new Queen.  Rude right?  Apparently if the bees feels that the hive is too full they will attempt to create another Queen and then take the existing Queen and leave the hive to make a new one.  By scraping off these sacks you are assisting in preventing that.

2.  She checks for the Queen.  You want to make sure she is within the box somewhere.  This is easier said than done.  As the bees fill up these grids, another box of grids is added to the existing one on top.  Amanda says by August (harvest time) the boxes should be stacked so tall she will need a step-ladder to get into them.  Currently these older homes have only two stacked so not too deep… still, we are looking for a single Queen bee among the 10,000.  😯

How do you pick out the Queen?  She is larger and longer than the others, has longer wings and is more of a buttercup coloring .

Looking for the Queen….

The experience was incredible.  I was not nervous at all.  When we started working with the older bee homes they were more aggressive, not liking to be disturbed.  Several went for my face mask, which was kid of like 3D as they hit the mask in “attack” mode.  Before we left the area we had to wipe each others outfits down, Amanda said I was covered with bees. 

That is my contribution to this weeks Saturday Snapshot.  Stop on over and see Alyce at At Home With Books to see what others are taking pictures of around the world. 😀

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on May 12, 2012, in Meanderings, Saturday Snapshots and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 53 Comments.

  1. randomsteph1210

    That is so neat! I have read The Secret Life of Bees and wanted to know more, very interesting. Loved the pictures!

  2. Hi Sheila,

    Been absent from the social side of blogging recently, but good to catch up with you.

    There is no hint of nervousness in that smile thru your bee outfit. What an amazing, if a little nervy, experience.

    My sat snapshot reveals why I have been too busy to be a good blogger and visit my blog favourites

  3. Sheila, you are one brave lady:) great photos through

  4. Beekeeping is fascinating! That’s great that you got a chance to help out. I’ve a friend who’s been having trouble with his queens – he imports them from the States but the last few that were shipped died en route because of some shipping issue.

  5. Bees! What fun 🙂 My in-laws used to keep bees and we got buckets of fresh honey every year.

  6. Staci@LifeintheThumb

    I LOVED this post, Sheila!!!! What an amazing experience you had and your friend’s endeavor into bee keeping is pretty awesome. How in the world could you ever find the Queen!!! I would feel like an Oompa in that outfit too!!

  7. I love looking in on the adventures of my blogging friends. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I loved this post too! Beekeeping is just so interesting! Those boxes are called ‘supers’ … the only reason I know is that our neighbors have just gotten their bee shipment and talked about putting up three new ‘supers’ …

    Great photo sequence this week! Hope you are having a great bike ride … great cause! Good on you!

    • Supers? Thanks for the word Susan 😀 Next week I think I will do pics from the bike rides I had the past two weeks. Todays was a lot of work for some reason, I dont know why 😀

  9. Your own version of The Secret Life of Bees. Who knew? I really liked the part where you had to search for the Queen.

    Thanks for sharing….and have fun biking.


  10. lisabutterybooks

    How cool! I have never seen bee keeping in action.

  11. What a fascinating post and great pictures, too! I’ve had an unnatural fear of bees ever since a swarm from a nearby hive descended on our house about 20 years ago…

  12. Beth Hoffman

    What a great post! A friend of my dad’s was a beekeeper and I’ve always found it fascinating.

  13. I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of references to beekeeping lately, but mostly in fiction. I applaud your courage to confront the bees in real life! And if your last line wasn’t a deliberate reference to Eddie Izzard’s “I’m covered in bees” sketch, you should look it up. 🙂

    Good luck with your bike ride!

  14. Fascinating!

  15. I’ll have to show this to my mom – her family kept bees as a child and I’m sure they didn’t have all that fancy equipment.

  16. Loved the pictures! And talk about a needle in the haystack – trying to find the queen in a hive of 10,000 bees??? Wow! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

  17. That was such a cool post! I don’t know if I’d be willing to keep bees myself since it seems like a lot of work, but it looks very neat. And I must be very distracted this morning because when I saw the part about the buttercup coloring I immediately thought of the part in the Princess Bride where she is announced – “Princess Buttercup!” 🙂

    • I agree Alyce, it does sound like a lot of work, but sounds like it is not an everyday thing…. 😀

      LOL – I did not think of that reference either Alyce… I wrote this so early! 😀

  18. That was so cool. A lot of stuff I didn’t know about bee keeping. Loved the pictures too…and Ompa Lompas are cute 🙂 I hope their bees will do well.

    • I knew nothing about Bee Keeping Eva! 😀 I did not know that they can come and go as they please, or that the Queen will travel up to ten miles form the hive and return. I also did not know that in the winter when it is cold, the hive will maintain a temp of 85-90 degrees and the bees only come out of the hive to do their bathroom business! 😯

  19. How brave you were Sheila!! How fun to capture it in pictures.

  20. You seriously have the coolest life ever. Just saying.

  21. I’ve always wondered, great story and photos.

  22. This post is very educative!

    Here is my Saturday Snapshot post!

  23. What a great experience. I’d probably be nervous even in a bee suit too! But you look like you had a good time.

    Here’s my Snapshot.

    • I did have a great time. I wasn’t nervous, I felt safe… no idea why. I told Amanda after they fixed my broken finger without drugs last year because I did not want to wait for the meds to kick in, I felt I could take a sting or two 😀

  24. What fun! As you can probably guess, I’d love to spend the day with bees. They are fascinating! I had a hive of what I think were bumblebees in my yard one year. It was in the ground. They buzzed around the flowers all summer and never bothered me. They didn’t return the next year and now I miss them.

    • That would be cool Leslie! My few other bee experiences have been just the occasional “fly by”. I know I was stung when I was younger, but nothing recently…. and they dont bother me.

  25. Not going to lie… I was terrified reading this post. You are a braver soul than I am!!!!! So scary!

  26. That looks such an amazing experience, great photos!

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