On Saturday, February 28th, I attended my first Back Yard Beekeeping lesson, led by entomologist Daniel Najera. His class consisted of a PowerPoint presentation, broken up into four parts with breaks in between and hot cocoa, coffee, and tea provided for refreshments.
Daniel started his class describing why honeybees are so vital to society: because they are responsible for the pollination of so many plants which produce fruits, nuts, and vegetables that we eat every day. He went on to explain the structure of a hive and the functions of the bees that keep it running. Then, he explained the different types of bees: drones, queen, and workers. Drones are the male bees which mate with queens in order to create worker bees and queen bees. The queen lays eggs, unfertilized eggs develop into drones, and fertilized eggs develop into workers unless they are fed royal jelly, in which case the larvae will become a queen. Workers are the bees that you see flying around. They do all the work: gathering pollen and nectar, feeding the young, guarding the hive, etc. Danny went on to describe the differences between these bees, such as physical characteristics and life cycle.
Daniel went on to describe other bee functions, such as swarming and clustering. Bees swarm when a hive becomes too populated and the queen leaves along with some drones and thousands of workers, in search of a new hive. A new queen inherits the old hive and begins where the old queen left off. Bees cluster during the winter in order to stay warm, as the middle of the cluster can be 35 degrees centigrade. Daniel then showed us the different parts of a man-made hive, explaining their structure and function, and different sizes. He then showed us different tools used by beekeepers and explained their functions. He finished by describing all the products produced by bees, and what to do when inspecting a hive.
Overall I found Danny’s presentation very informative and I would suggest it to any beginner beekeeper, or anyone who would like to know a little more about bees.
This content was submitted by Evan Wiederaenders – a student at International School in Bellevue. He is working with PSBA this year to complete his Senior Project on Beekeeping. We look forward to hearing more from Evan as his project progresses.
The last session of the Backyard Beekeeping class is happening soon on Saturday, April 11th, noon to 4:00pm. Use this opportunity to get the basics on bees before you get your bees. Register for Session 3 You get 8 hours of class time and can also register for the Bee Lab. Students from each of our Backyard Beekeeping classes will join together for one learning-packed day on Sunday, April 26th, from 11am – 2pm. (You can register for Bee Lab when you register for your class) See you there!