Preparedness With Bees

A couple weeks ago, we were invited to speak with the Mapleton Ready group about bees. We have been excited about the response. They gave Stan and I 20 minutes to talk about bees when it comes to sustainable living and emergency preparedness. Here is what we came up with. 20 minutes is not long when it comes to bees! I thought I'd just share the slides and maybe comment on a few below the slide.

We like to help people get started with honeybees. We think there is a lot of equipment out there that beekeepers don't have to have to be successful. We try to help get folks set up with just the basics.

We also like to promote natural, sustainable beekeeping. We love the University of Minnesota Bee Lab's beekeeping manuals and Marla Spivak's work, especially when it comes to diseases and pests. 

One reason people keep bees is for food. Honey and honey comb are the first food source people think of with bees. It is a good source of carbohydrates. In fact, it provides all the carbs bees need to survive. And it's yummy!

Bees also collect pollen and store it in their hives. This is an edible protein source for humans too. It is a complete food, containing all 21 amino acids. Sometimes people with seasonal allergies consume pollen, which causes an enhanced antihistamine response, but then seems to reduce symptoms.

If there was an apocalypse, people may turn to bee larvae for food also. This is a Chinese bee larvae salad taken from the disgusting food website online. We can also consume royal jelly, and many do as an alternative medicine. It is VERY labor-intensive to harvest.

Bees also collect the plant resin, propolis. They use it to glue everything down in the hive. It also is an important part of their collective immunity. It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. Even HIV virus couldn't live in a petri dish with a propolis solution. Humans also consume this for its anti-microbial properties. It is kinda spicy as it has essential oils in it.

Many people use honey for first aid. We keep some in our first aid kit. Honey is low in moisture and is acidic. Bacteria can't live in honey because of this. People use honey on wounds, burns, bruises, and facial blemishes. It is also a natural cough suppressant and pulls moisture from the environment (or swollen body parts).

Honeybees are important pollinators for our gardens. If we need to rely on these gardens for food, it's a good idea to make sure bees are nearby.

Ha Ha! We don't actually recommend this one, but maybe something to think about. . .

Here are some things to consider if you need to move bees post earthquake.

This slide shows many of the hive ideas around the time Mr. Langstroth patented his hive. They are slides he included in his patent application. The idea is that bees will produce honey wherever they are. We use modern hives for the beekeeper's convenience.

Above is a list of the basics one would need for one beehive. We use deeps exclusively in our operation, but have a friend who swears by mediums. The box size is not really that important.

Here are a couple ways people can get bees: Packages and Nucs. The top left photo is a package of bees. You can see the metal can of sugar syrup. The queen comes in her own smaller cage within the package cage. The queen cage is pictured top right. Our nucs come on 5 deep frames. The bottom photo shows Stan holding up a hive nucleus. It comes with bees, a queen that has been inspected for a good laying pattern, drawn comb, some honey stores, eggs, larvae, emerging bees, and workers. We start the package in a nuc box in April on new frames and then sell it a bit farther along as a nuc in May.

Above is a list of other equipment you will need that we do not sell. The top photo is a sticky pair of gloves and a hive tool. The bottom photo shows two beekeepers. On the left, he has a jacket-style bee suit with gloves and his own jeans and boots. The one on the right has a hat, veil, gloves, and is wearing his own long-sleeved shirt and jeans with boots. A hat, veil, and gloves is all you really need.

Someday, you may want to invest in extracting equipment like that pictured above.

If you don't want to purchase extracting equipment, the Barn Hive is another option used for harvesting comb honey. See www.thehoneycompany.com under "Barn Hive" for more information.

Here is our DIY version of bottling equipment. There is a post about this on our blog . . . somewhere. . .

We threw in a couple pictures in case of questions about swarms, rooftop beekeeping, and harvesting honey.

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