Saturday, April 25, 2009


Today I took the first of three days of a beekeeping course. It covered the development of the bee, hive construction and comb types. About bees and drones and how the hives work. There's the queen and all the workers which are female (as it should be). All the drones have to do is fly, catch a queen, have sex, and die. What a way to go. Drones don't sting, they have no defenses. If the workers are full of honey they can't sting either, because they have to bend their abdomen to sting.

I didn't know that honeybees were not native to North America. They were brought over by the Europeans when they brought over fruit trees and orchards which are not native to North America, either. There was no natural pollinator for the fruit. Bumblebees were too busy with their natural niche of berries and crabapples to be interested in the new varieties. I didn't know that and I thought it was kind of cool.

Sometimes wasps kill honeybees. One guy in our area lost a whole hive to wasps. Can you have organic honey? Unless you own thousands of acres that you know you keep organic, it's virtually impossible to claim organic honey. I kind of figured that. Bees go out about five miles from the hive so you'd need to have ten miles you know is organic. You can say it's natural honey. Made by bees for bees.

Interesting stuff. Something we're looking at doing on our farm. You need a permit in B.C. and your hives have to be inspected. I'll keep you posted after next week's lesson. There's lots more to learn. I've always been interested in entomology. It's interesting when you can mix food production with something else you enjoy.

Val found an interesting YouTube on beekeeping:


  1. I didn't realise that honeybees weren't native to here. It makes a lot of sense and explains why our food system is so precarious.

  2. a lot of the food we eat is not native to north america. when the original settlers came over they brought their own seed and food stocks with them. corn (maize) squashe and potatoes were the main agriculture crops of the native people of the americas.

  3. food gathering was more common than food cultivating