I wanted a unique project to benefit our farm and community. I wanted to learn about bees and see how they work together as a colony. I wanted to improve crops on our farm through pollination. I wanted to harvest honey and maybe beeswax.
After I became interested in beekeeping. I started reading about bees and learning about them. We talked to my great-uncle who is a beekeeper and my neighbor had bees so I got to take a look in his hive. We purchased some supplies. I bought my first 2 colonies from my great-uncle on May 12. I bought another colony on June 11. We checked the hives every couple of weeks and were able to see the brood, larva, nectar, and pollen. One of the hives ended up dying probably because of wax moths, and I laid the frames from that hive in the sun to kill any remaining wax moth larva. At the beginning of November we were finally ready to extract some honey. I had purchased a hand crank extractor that could hold 2 frames at a time. We ended up getting from 4 frames, 3 quarts of honey. We also medicated the hives in November.
I purchased my colonies from Gordon Gause and Jon Kleckhefer, an extension educator in Brookings County. These 2 people also helped a lot by answering questions and offering advice. My dad also helped a lot. We checked the hives together as it can kind of be a 2 person job.
The results of the project ended up being 3 quarts of honey, 2 live hives, and 1 dead hive. I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of honey this year. Because the bees had to make all new combs and we had to leave them some for winter, but we also had a decrease in honey because of all the flooding this summer wiping out plants. I should have checked the hives more in August through October so we could have caught the wax moth problem and maybe the whole colony wouldn’t have died. Overall though, it was a fun new project and I learned a lot.
I learned about how honey bees are beneficial insects through pollination and how they work together and make honey. I have learned lots about beekeeping and my dad has discovered he enjoys it too. My family has enjoyed the delicious fresh honey. It will affect my community more in the future when I get enough honey to sell.
I prepared a power point presentation on beekeeping. On June 29 I used it for an illustrated talk at the Turner County 4-H public presentation day. There were about 20 people there. I made a display called “The Buzz about Bees.” I shared the interesting bee facts with my local 4-H club of about 12 on July 19. I brought the display to the Turner County Fair in August where many people saw it. I extracted honey at our November 6 4-H meeting and served the fresh honey on graham crackers for lunch. I gave an informative speech on bees to my high school oral communications class of 23, in November.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture by starting a beekeeping project. I appreciated the chance to learn about beekeeping.