Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Secret Life of Bees

“Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about” - p.148 from The Secret Life of Bees by S.M. KIDD

The rural charm of Pitt Meadows (population: 17, 500) is soothing and quiescent. An hour and a half drive away from the city of glass, we hit the "Pitt" or as I like to call it, city of grass. Tim and I walked into a room in the Ramada Inn packed with 30 or so other curious minds waiting to uncover the secret life of bees. Dr. Bee's Level One Bee Keeping Course brought together nurses, pharmacists, bike mechanics, farmers, husky ranchers, gardeners, florists, social workers, entrepreneurs, and me, the token artists. Ron Lin aka Dr. Bee holds a PhD in Entomology and Apiculture from Simon Fraser University. At a crossroad after completing his degree, instead of diving into a research lab somewhere in Alberta, Ron took the entrepreneurial path into beekeeping in Pitt Meadows and established Honeyland.

The three day workshop walked us through alot of the materials covered in the book: Beekeeping in Western Canada. His slide presentations kept us engaged. His quarky mad scientist laughter thunder trailed after his own jokes (either we were a tough crowd or he needs to get better material.) But I think I can confidently speak for all of us that cracking open the propolis sealed hive is the most memorable learning exercise.

From Bee Keeping 101 with Dr. Bee
(Click on the image to play video)

Beekeeping, like painting, requires a lot of patience and focus. It demands the steward of the craft to look and look again at what is growing on the frame. Monitors is half the job of a beekeeper. As you scan in close quarters of these minion activities, looking for disease or queen cells, checking up on how the eggs, larvaes and pupas are developing, (without sounding cheesy) the sense of sacredness oscillates inside your whole being. Amoungst other perks and hooks (obviously honey) perhaps it is this intimate connection with the hive that makes beekeeping so satisfying.

(Click on the image to play video)

To all my beekeeping cohearts, lets keep in touch and share links online. I would love it if any of you would share some of your memories below in the comment box! I wonder if starting a "BC Beekeeping" facebook group would be beneficial?

Oh one more request. Here are the books I have read so far related to bees. If you have any summer reading recommendations, please advise!

Title: Fruitless Fall
Author: Ron Jacobson

Title: The Secret Life of Bees
Author: Sue Monk Kidd

Title: A Recipe for Bees
Author: Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Title: HONEYBEE Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper
Author: Marina Marchese
Her Facebookgroup: click here

Title: A Short History of the Honey Bee: Humans, Flowers, and Bees in the Eternal Chase for Honey
Author: E. Readicker-Henderson

1 comment:

  1. I used to be absolutely terrified of bees. True story.