2020 came with its challenges and excitement. With a global pandemic forcing people to stay at home for months, many of us started to explore new hobbies. For some it was baking bread, for others it was gardening. For me it was Beekeeping.
I had been interested in beekeeping for sometime and had never pulled the trigger. I have a couple friends who kept bees and were really enjoying it. One friend in particular, Matt, kept telling me how amazing these little creatures were and I already knew how delicious honey was. So when a neighbor was moving and wanted to get rid of his equipment, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
After a rocky start with trying to re-queen the existing bees, I lucked out and got nuc that consisted of a captured swarm. A nuc is a small colony of bees, usually around 2-5 frames, and they are a really good way to start your beekeeping journey. My little nuc settled in and produced a fair amount of honey (about 8 jars) in the fall before I closed up the hive for the winter.
Once the hive is closed up for the winter, you cross your fingers and hope that the bees make it until spring, surviving on the honey they stored for themselves. As the weather in Illinois warmed up over the last few weeks, I was glad to see some bee action around my hive. I opened up the lid and took a look to find my bees had made it! They are active and looking for the pollen that is starting to show up.
I am really enjoying this new hobby. Bees really are fascinating little things. God’s creation never ceases to amaze me. My kids even like helping with bee chores. They definitely like the honey. My hope this spring is to split this hive and start a new one. I’ll be researching that this spring to get ready.