Pictured: Husband (Chris) and Daughter (Hannah) suiting up for beekeeping
A few years ago, my daughter Hannah, started to take interest in beekeeping and decided to take it as a 4-H project. Since I have been beekeeping for so long, I could answer most of her questions. BUT, as you know…kids think of questions to ask, mostly tiny details, we adults don’t think of asking. As the questions started pouring in, I had to do more research and strengthen my knowledge. Beekeeping with kids became more of a learning experience than a teaching experience. I was excited to delve in to the many resources available about honeybees and learn as much as I could.
Here are some of her questions:
How do bees make wax?
Where does “bee glue” (propolis) come from?
I know it’s a dance, but how does a honeybee REALLY tell the rest of the hive EXACTLY where the flowers, pollen, water, etc. are?
How do honeybees get the pollen to stick to their legs?
There were many more, but you get the idea. The more the questions poured in, the more research I had to do to get the answers. I (we) learned a lot.
Start with the Basics of Beekeeping
We started with the basics; parts of the hive, jobs of all the bees in the hive (especially Her Royal Highness-the Queen), the bee suit and how to put it on (so you don’t get stung), and all the beekeeping tools and their uses.
After learning all about these things, I figured it was time to crack open one of the hives and show her what is inside. She was a little hesitant, but excited and fascinated by what she saw. If you ever get the chance to suit up in help open a beehive, I hope you will take the opportunity.
Continue to Learn: Read Books about Beekeeping
There are some really good books on the topic of Beekeeping. Here are some beekeeping books I have in my collection:
Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
The Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook: A Guide to Creating, Harvesting, and Baking with Natural Honeys (Backyard Series)
“Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
Langstroth’s Hive and the Honey-Bee: The Classic Beekeeper’s Manual
Beekeeping: Questions and Answers
Take a Beekeeping Class Together
If you want to learn more about beekeeping in your area, call your local county extension agent, they can hook you up with a local beekeeper, or beekeeping club (yes, there are clubs for just about everything), they will be more than happy to give you a tour of a beehive.
We offer a Beekeeping Class here on Mama’s Homestead. We cover the basics of beekeeping. The bee, their jobs, where they live, and how the beekeeper interacts with them.
The Honeybee- First, we will cover the many jobs of the honeybee and how they interact and communicate with each other in the hive.
The Hive- Next, we will take a look at a vacant hive and talk about the history, parts, and functions of the modern beehive. We will cover all the products of the hive, how the bees use them to survive, and even taste some honey.
The Beekeeper- Lastly, we meet the beekeeper, learn about his/her tools and how he/she interacts with the bees, and someone will even get to try on a kid-sized beekeeping suit.
*Weather permitting, we will take a walk out to the beehives to take a look.