I’ve been a beekeeper for three years (just this spring is the anniversary) and I never felt qualified enough to write about it. I really don’t feel qualified yet! There’s so much to learn that I don’t think I ever will. My mom and I started Shamrock Apiaries after my grandpa’s friend starting keeping some of his bees on my grandpa’s farm. We named our apiary Shamrock because it is the street my grandpa’s farm is on. With Al (Albon Apiaries) as our mentor we started three hives, and in our first summer we caught a swarm and moved up to four.
We name each of our queens after real queens. We have Elizabeth, Victoria, Marie Antoinette and Cleopatra. Elizabeth is the tallest hive and was always the strongest. Sadly this year Elizabeth and Marie Antoinette didn’t make it through the winter. Nether starved, both got sick even though we treated them in the fall sometimes you can’t protect them.
We will be replacing them and keeping the same names. We’re hoping to get one more hive (and name her Ru Paul) but we haven’t decided when we want to do that. Our yellow hives live with Al’s blue ones. The colour doesn’t matter we just like yellow.
We have a solar powered electric fence around them to protect them from raccoons, skunks, and even bears. Although I’m not sure it’s strong enough to stop a bear.
We do keep the honey and wax but we’re not in it for the honey. I like to think of it as the rent they pay. We just want to take care of them and learn everything about them. I think of them more as pets than livestock.
We try our hardest to keep the little girls alive. I just love watching them and working with them.
We harvest any excess honey they have in the fall. The brood boxes (the two large ones on the bottom of each hive) carry enough honey for the bees to make it through the winter, and the top boxes (honey supers) are for us. Sometimes the bees don’t fill the honey supers at all. Any wax I get comes from harvesting the honey. We only take the very top layer off of each frame and leave an almost finished frame for the bees to use next year. I use the wax for candles, lip balms, and hand creams.
Beekeeping is getting popular and I think the majority of people doing small scale beekeeping are helping the ecosystem out by keeping the number of honey bees alive up. However many people go into it expecting it to be easy, and not following regulations and laws, which causes the spread of dieses between hives. I just try and take care of my bees as best we I can.
The photos are all by my lovely friend Katey who now has her own photography company you can find their Instagram here , the portfolio here and website here. The photos were taken before she created Little City Lifestyle, but her new stuff is just as good!
(not an ad just showing support for my friend)