Let’s Dance!

"My first rooftop swarm"

The bees. Did you know that bees do a dance to let their sister bees know the location and type of food (nectar, pollen, and water)  the foraging bees have discovered for the hive?  They have two common dances. The waggle dance and the round dance. If the food is further away they will perform the waggle dance. If the food source is nearby they do the round dance. Isn’t that awesome! Dancing bees!

A few years ago I grew interested in beekeeping. Now I’m fascinated by the bees. One of the best documentaries I’ve seen thus far about the bees is “Queen of the Sun.” Same people who made the documentary, “The Real Dirt on Farmer John,” which is also  fun and inspirational.

Our latest hive

I’m a beginning beekeeper with so much to learn. About a month ago I got this swarm of bees from a neighbor and this week is the first time I opened them up and took a peek. They’re flourishing. I already need to add another box for them to move up into! Yikes! What  a lazy beekeeper!  Our summer squash and strawberries are both blooming in the garden and I’m so  pleased I have the bees around to pollinate. The truth is none of us would be eating like we do without the bees. 

We need the bees to pollinate our food sources and who hasn’t yet been made aware that the bees are declining. Many people are committed to understanding why the bees are dying. I think we will get there. We will figure out what we can do to assist them.  To start, perhaps we might reconsider shipping them from the east coast to the west coast to pollinate monoculture fruit trees in Fresno California. That drive is stressful enough for humans. Now we’re expecting the bees do it?

The mentality of the bees is truly amazing. They really know how to work as a team. The queen can lay up to 1500 eggs  a day. A healthy queen can live up to 6 years of age. Did you know that the hive is comprised mostly of female bees who commit themselves and their short life span (3 weeks) to the queen.

How about the list of healthy reasons to eat honey. For my morning cup of warmth I drink hot water with raw  honey a touch of apple cider vinegar and cardamom. It works for me! Some countries are now  using honey in patients dressings for cuts and burns. It has antibacterial properties and can be used to prevent infection.

Foraging Bee

If you buy from someone you know  you’re likely to get raw unheated delicious honey. Not the stuff they sell in Kroger.  It’s processed.  They extract all the yummy nutrients out and then sell it to the uninformed. I’m always willing to pay a few bucks more for my health. Aren’t you? Especially when it tastes so good.  Last year we made several batches of  honey wine or “mead.” Years ago it was common for newlyweds to drink mead  for one month or one phase of the moon to assure the birth of a son. Thus, the term “honeymoon.” Now that’s good for the soul!

First hive, a bit messy?

I’m still a bit nervous when I open up my hive. I’ve been stung in a few places that aren’t so pleasant to recover from. Like the face. But I will get there. I have sincere regard for the bees. If I can help them out by having a few hives in my own backyard, I will risk the stings. Some people are using the bees for “sting therapy.” Now that’s  brave. It’s been know to help people with MS. The bees visit 2 million flowers to produce one pound of honey. That’s a lot of foraging friends. And we thought we were working hard!



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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."

13 Responses to Let’s Dance!

  1. I just planted a “bee garden” to give the bees a safe, pesticide-free pollen-gathering place.

  2. Megan Volmer says:

    Have you ever tried homeopathic Apis for bee strings? It works wonders. Also, plantain is a good herb/weed growing nearly everywhere that relieves the painful sting. Bulkherbstore.com has a great article, http://www.bulkherbstore.com/articles/plantain-the-wedding-saver on using it for bee stings. I have only used Apis as it works for us!

    Just found this blog a few weeks ago and enjoy it.

  3. Jonelle Rosin says:

    One of our favorite children’s books, when Erin was growing up was The Bee Tree, by Patricia Pollacco!

  4. Mrs H says:

    I remember watching the Moody Science Video growing up, “City of the Bees” and oh how we loved that movie … we watched it so many times (the things that entertain homeschool kids!). We were fascinated by the dancing bees and the idea of sugar-water reviving a poor, sad little bee!

    Happily I can enjoy the show you recommended, Queen of the Sun ’cause it’s available instantly on my Netflix 🙂 Woot!! I have one pint of honey left, which my aunt gave to me, and I already know where I’m getting my next batch (there is a farm near my house that sells it!).

    Grocery-store honey is more akin to sugar-syrup than real honey 🙁 It’s not even worth the few pennies they sell it for!

    • Grace says:

      I’m so pleased to know it’s on Netflix. Progress! It’s such a fun film. Enjoy it!

  5. We have a top bar bee hive waiting to be set up and have bees moved into soon! Can’t wait to learn how to keep them and get that delish honey!

    • Grace says:

      That’s wonderful. There’s also the “ware” hive that people are building and using. Gunter Hawk uses this kind here in Floyd Virginia. I’m very interested in this kind of hive. Have fun!

  6. Leilani says:

    We are going to add bees as soon as possible. A good friend currently supplies our honey. I have replaced the refined sugar in many recipes with honey including our bread and jams. The harmony of working with bees is a gift and a delight.

  7. Cameron says:

    Hello, good to see you are getting into bees. As others have said the top bar or Warre hives are really the most bee friendly hive. They mimic nature and make life a lot more comfortable for the bees. There is a growing movement done here in Australia using them with great success. “The Peoples Hive” is free pdf download, written by Abbott Warre it is well worth the read.
    Regards Cameron

    • Grace says:

      Awe! This is wonderful! Thank you. I hope to move forward in that direction with the bees. I know what you’re saying about being more bee friendly. That’s where I want to go with the bees!

  8. Sue McKown says:

    So happy to hear you have some bees now. I know you are busy, but it would be so nice to see you again at one of the SVBA meetings. Love your posts!!

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