On a day that was overcast and tossing down the occasional shower, the skies parted and allowed the sun to shine during our field trip. What a blessing. It was the sunniest part of the entire day.
We began in my garage by showing the group some of the hive equipment so they could see how a beekeeper houses the bees. The group got to see and feel the comb, both on the frame and in the form of a separate piece taken from one of Gary’s hives. I couldn’t help chuckling to myself just a little. Like so many class rooms, our classroom may have been a little dry as there were few questions and no one seemed to be getting very excited about it all. But that was about to change. (If I do this again I definitely need to work on this part of the presentation. Maybe sampling some honey would help. :))
After driving to Gary’s bee yard and putting on some veils and other clothing for a real hive inspection the level of interest was definitely rising. You could even say the air was “buzzing” with anticipation.
At the hive the bees were very calm and I was glad to see that even those who choose not to gear up could get close enough for a first hand look at things. Those with veils didn’t hesitate to move right up to the hive and suddenly the questions began to come.
Seeing thousands of bees crawling around in the hive and on the frames as Gary removed them was an entirely different thing. The interest and excitement level rose. Finally they were seeing what they had come for and they weren’t disappointed. Gary had found the queen!
Seeing the inner workings of a hive is a rare treat that few people have the opportunity to experience. Seeing larvae, capped brood, worker bees, the queen, stored pollen and honey makes it all real, something tangible. Coupled with the knowledge of what the bees do for us, I think it’s an experience that wont soon be forgotten.
These are some of the most rewarding moments in bee keeping. I know Gary and I got as much or more out of it as the kids. When you have the chance to bring our youth into contact with a part of the world we live in and help them understand the difference between honey bees and other bees most of us don’t care for, such as wasps and yellow jackets.
It was a wonderful experience for both Gary and I and we certainly would take any opportunity to do it again.