From bug-hater to beekeeper

From bug-hater to beekeeper

I’m selling honey for the first time this year.  I am so proud of myself!  Ten years ago I would never have imagined I’d end up a beekeeper.  I was never a bug person when I was growing up.  In fact I was like most folks–thinking that bugs are icky, and wishing they could all simply be eradicated from the face of the planet.  But something happened to me that changed the way I thought about bugs.

I married a bug-lover.

It was a slow progression.  He would get so excited over an insect he’d discovered, or protective of one that I’d discovered, that I gradually learned that bugs are not bad.  From my dear husband I got “the spiel” so many times–about how bugs are an important part of the food chain, and without them the entire world would collapse.  And he taught me, too, that bugs are beautiful–if you look closely–bugs are really beautiful creatures.

In addition to marrying a citizen entomologist, about the time we had our first son I dug in to gardening (pun intended).

For me at least, it is impossible to grow plants and not become more aware of the ecology of my backyard.  I noticed the changing of seasons more, changes in weather, wildlife, and–of course–the insects.

It’s really easy to notice the chewing and sucking insects in your garden–those that folks would generally deem “bad bugs”; but if you’re determined not to use harsh chemicals and pesticides in your garden, only organic methods–it can prove daunting to protect your precious crops from these uninvited dinner guests.

So I learned to plant using companion-planting methods.  That is–planting crops to repel “bad bugs” and crops to attract “good bugs” along with my vegetables.

One of my girls working my Hollyhocks.

Over the next couple of years practicing the companion planting methods, I learned more about the good-bugs, like predatory insects that eat those uninvited dinner guests in your garden.  I began thinking more about pollination and keeping bees.  In a twist of fate, I mentioned this to a friend of the family who keeps bees, and she turned around and gave me some of her spare equipment to get me started.

Last year I brought home my first colony of bees and bee-fever took hold of me.  I just can’t learn enough about these fascinating creatures!  And the increase in my garden’s production was unmistakable.

This year I have two hives, and next year I intend to increase the number by eight.  I’m aiming to sell honey, and NUCs–those are nucleus colonies with 4-5 frames of drawn comb, brood, honey, and bees with their Queen.

But the bees and their honey are just one aspect of our diversified farm.  Check back soon for more info!

Check Out these Links for Additional Information:
Beekeeping for Garden Production

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Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm