Saturday, April 16, 2011

Honey and other bees

Carpenter Bee
One thing we noticed since moving out into the middle of the woods a few years ago is that we don't have many honey bees.  We have lots of other bees, mostly carpenter bees and mud dauber wasps, and definitely swarms of those wicked little yellow jackets that make homes in holes in the ground. but honey bees are few and far between.  That's one of the reasons I've been wanting to get some honey bee hives.

Mud dauber organ pipe nest
Randy's not too sure about my desire for bees, as he knows about my deadly fear of bees.  I think honey bees are good bees, and possibly I will get over my fear of them.  I mean, I used to be afraid of chickens. I thought they would peck me.  I got over that fear.  So, we'll see...

Yellow jacket

This week something has changed.  I've noticed many honey bees outside hanging around my house.  I've also noticed the pain-in-the neck carpenter bees making holes in the house right by the front door. They're so big and clumsy, they bump into humans who happen to walk nearby.  And if a big loud carpenter bee bumps into me, I run away screaming.  But the sweet little honey bees were just buzzing around, not being obnoxious at all.  And we've caught and released THREE honey bees from inside our house.  What's up with the honey bees getting inside our house?

Here's a photo of a honey bee which was inside our house. All the honey bees I've seen this week are very calm, they almost act sleepy.  I especially liked to look at his little feet. I thought it was odd that he didn't have any yellow on him.  This is a honey bee, isn't it?  Randy joked with me and told me that maybe a colony of honey bees moved into the walls of our house over the winter and now they are waking up.  Horrific images of a swarm of bees inside my house fill my head, but I attempted to get over my fear and told him we better have our honey bee homes built and ready to go then!

One of our honey bees


Chai Chai said...

When the Commander was a kid he had the bad luck to step on a yellow jacket hive and received hundreds of stings, he isn't much interested in getting anything that stings. I have got him to look at Mason Bees....

Farm Girl said...

Bees are interesting and if you like them they are great. If you do get bees make sure you get the nice docile kind. I didn't think it mattered a bee was a bee right? I told the apiary to just send me what they had. I had the meanest, contrary bees in the world. My Mom was a bee keeper and I helped her. In all of those years I never got as stung as many times as I did in the two years I had my own hive.
After I robbed them they just flew away.
I think though they are a wonderful thing to have and I think it is a wonderful experience and I am glad I did it, but I am not going to be getting another hive, I even quit complaining about the price of honey. :)

Razzberry Corner said...

Chai Chai -Mason bees, hmmm, interesting. I just looked them up. They're like a honey bee with no honey! I didn't know about them.

Razzberry Corner said...

Farm Girl - Are there different kinds of honey bees? Wow, I really need to study up on bees before I consider getting just any bees! Thanks for the info!

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

i blogged about my bee class last month. i would advise learning a lot about them or you will have a greater chance of losing the hive. do not get the russian bees, those are the mean ones, request italian bees. the best advice i can offer is join your local bee association and hook up with one of the bee keepers there who sells packages and nukes. be aware of the new virus or disease that is growing. i forget the name of it now. i was told to wait until fall and use these months to watch a bee keeper. july is honey month. afterwards you will have to feed them until next march or april. stop by if you get a chance and guess who buttercup is!!!

Jenny wren's nest said...

We had a nest of wasps in our basement it was not fun!, It started in spring and we could not get them completely out until fall. we went thru 3 cans of the spay bug killer.
Jenny wren

Knatolee said...

it could be the photo, but that last bee's abdomen looks too fat for it to be a true "honeybee." But I'm not positive! :) Still, I think it's one of the imposter bees that look like a honeybee but are actually harmless and venomless.

Many bees make honey, but not in enough quantity that humans would want to harvest it from them. Bumblebees make a supply of honey, for example, but it's very small.

And there are different races of honeybee that beekeepers keep, but they are generally all subspecies of apis mellifera:

I have Carniolan queens ( but my bees were Italian ( when I got them. God knows what's going on there now after a year of my Carniolan queens laying eggs! :)

Mason bees are great in your garden! We have a mason bee house that I got when we lived out west.

I think that if you keep bees, you will soon get over your fear, and it helps to get the first sting over with. I felt a lot better after I was stung. It helps that I barely react to beestings, unlike some people!

Love this post and the photos!!

Knatolee said...

Lynn, I have an off-topic chicken question, and I don't seem to have your email address, so forgive me for asking here. I have taken my balding Chicky out of the flock for a bit, because I want her back and shoulders to heal up. I think it's a combination of rooster damage, moulting, and picking. Anyway, we've got her in a cage in the garage, and I put her buddy Anastasia in there with her. But I am wondering how this all affects the flock order, and how long I should keep her/them out of the flock. Didn't you have Lucy out for a while? Was it okay reintegrating her?

Have a good evening!

Terry said...

No bee experts here, but I enjoy Punkin Patch's blog at and she is a bee expert, as well as a nice lady. Check her out and scroll down to April 14.

Dog Trot Farm said...

I have noticed many Bee Keeping classes being offered here locally and find they fill up very quickly. I find bees so interesting, but intimidating. Good luck, I will be looking forward to future posts.

Razzberry Corner said...

KK - Ok, I made my Buttercup guess! Thanks for the info on bees! I am going to have to join a local bee club, and I know there are a few here.

JWN - That does not sound like fun, having wasps living in the basement! :( I hope I don't have bees living in my walls!!!

Nat - Thanks for all the bee info. I will have to go lookup all the links you supplied. Beekeeping sounds very complicated...

My stepdad used to have honeybees, and I used to get stung all the time. I remember I didn't really mind the stings much. Since then, somehow I've developed a phobia about bees, but I'm sure I'd get over it if we had honeybees.

Terry - Thanks for the guidance! I will check out the link!!! :)

Julie - I find bees interesting, but intimidating, too. I hope to get over the intimidation part!


Robin J. said...

That would be cool if you got honey bees this year. I hope that we can catch a swarm this summer.