The last month and a half has been an absolute whirlwind as to be expected this time of year. However, yesterday I got an opportunity to slow down a bit and learn first hand about something I have been interested in for years now. One of our Grow Appalachia market growers, Sonny Maggard so graciously invited me to his home to help him work with his bee hives. It just so happened that yesterday, the day I had been planning to come, 2 of of Sonny’s 16 hives produced swarms. A swarm happens when a hive becomes discontented with their queen and they work to produce a new one. In the mean time the old queen realizes what is going on and decides to leave, taking half of the bees in the hive with her. So yesterday upon my arrival, I witnessed a sugar maple branch in Sonny’s bee yard covered with bees. I got to see how the branch on which they were swarming was so carefully cut and the queen placed into her new home. It was amazing to see how that after the queen was inside all the other bees instantly began to enter the hive as well. Even before all the bees had made it into the hive they began working to locate and supply nectar for their new home. It is a blessing to slow down and consider the wonder of nature in the small things that we often overlook. The bee doesn’t know that its busy it’s just doing what it is designed to do and oh how exceptionally well it does that job.
Needless to say this has all but added fuel to the fire as I seek to learn more about bees and work to build my own hives so that I can then teach others. The future of agriculture as we know it is highly dependent upon the honey bee. I am only beginning my journey of bee keeping and am quite limited in my knowledge. However, there are excellent resources everywhere both in print and in person. The latter of which is my favorite resource. There is no better way to learn than by doing. So, read some of the good resources but don’t forget to go out and meet the best resources.