Sunday, May 17, 2009

The story so far...

I first really became interested in bee keeping a couple of years ago when I did an afternoon workshop as part of a permaculture course.

The idea of firstly being able to see thousands of little workers buzzing around their hives in our garden appealed to me, as did the idea of increased yield thanks to their pollination role and firstly, the idea of having our own blend of honey - all this roled into a romantic notion of having our own bees and beehives.

Bees are often integrated into permaculture gardens and I like the idea of having these armies of workers helping us grow our food - we have a worm farm and plenty of worms in the soil - we have chooks and bees were a natural inclusion for our small holding.

I was inspired after the workshop and while I wasn't ready at the time to take on learning bee keeping, I feel that I am now - but where to start?

Where to learn, where to get hives, what type of hives, how to avoid being ripped off, how to keep bees healthy and happy, what do they eat, how do you manage the hives, how do you get the honey from the bees onto your toast in the morning?

It's all these questions and many more I'm sure, that I hope to answer and share here on this blog. I figure I'm not the only person keen for bees, but stuck with how to get started.

So my plans in coming weeks are to; visit the local DPI (Dept of Primary Industries) office at nearly Nambour. To find a good Australian book to start reading and to use as a reference guide on bee keeping. To research on the internet about bee keeping. To study the bees in our garden and try to get to know them - what they do, how they behave, to observe them going about their daily tasks. Also I'll visit a bee keeping supply shop at Morayfield.

What I have put in place is - I've approached someone I know who has 10 hives in our local area and asked him to run a workshop on bee keeping - which he has agreed to do in September. Bees are happier in spring - so there is one thing I've learned already.

He's had a look at our place and thinks it's perfect for bees - we have a permaculture garden and lots of vegetation of varying heights, which apparently bees like.

I've also started planting out some bee forrage plants in the vegie garden. Lavender, buddliea, rosemary, and lots of orange flowered cosmos and marigolds.

I've also set up some bee friendly water bowls - shallow and with rocks in them so bees and other small insects don't drown.

I've also been photographing a lot of bees in the garden - both honey bees and natives to get to know them all.

So this is my story so far, planning, designing, researching, reading and learning how to get started.



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