Bee Keeping Field Trip

What a perfect day for a trip outside to learn about bee keeping.  It was an absolutely beautiful spring morning and afternoon, thankfully!

We've done several units on bees over the past years, but there is so much to know about bees.  It's good to always review. And I learned a TON today!

The hives we saw were on the property of a fellow homeschooler who live approximately 45 minutes away on a beautiful piece of property in the country.  She keeps her two hives right in the yard near the children's playground equipment, because aparently they've never posed a threat or been aggressive! 

my happy honey

The taller hive on the left is well established.  The smaller white hive on the right is the one that received a new colony today.

 Above you and below you see the new colony of several thousand bees.  It came in the mail from California for $116.  The queen is in the middle of all those bees in her own little compartment.

Do you love that my daughter and my son actually prepared for this trip by planning to wear yellow shirt/yellow nail polish?
Transferring the bees to the new hive actually only takes a few minutes.  You literally shake them to the bottom of the box, remove the queen, DUMP in the bees, add the queen and voila.  It got pretty loud there for a while with all the excited bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing.   I confess to having mild panic attacks when bees landed in my hair (twice) and on my son and on my daughter.  Another mom got a bee buried in her hair for several minutes before we could get it out.  But amazingly, no body got stung today!  Hurray.

 Old honey from previous hives is added to the new hive so that the colony has a jump start. This also strenghtens it agains attacks from the neighboring, stronger hive.
Dumping in the bees. 
Today I learned that the youngest bees are in charge of taking care of babies.  Middle aged bees do the housekeeping. And the oldest bees get to guard the entrance and actually leave the hive for nectar.  Pretty cool division of labor!  So when you see bees flying around, you'll know that they are older and wiser than most bees.

I always thought that I would want to raise bees.  I've done a lot of reading about it.  But after seeing my reaction to the near misses today, I think I'm probably better off letting someone else raise my honey for me.  yes.

After the transfer took place, we had plenty of time left to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and weather. 
swinging together

rope swing

catching moths

first picnic of the year

exploring the grounds
What a great way to spend the day.  And from all we learned today, we are well on our way to earning the bee keeping badge for Frontier Girls and Quest Club.