Reading

Recommended Enrichment Reading: Keeping Bees: A Complete Practical Guide , by Paul Peacock. I love this book and its photographs! Support the buzz in your garden and enjoy the perfect antidote to the stress of modern life. This practical guide covers everything a new beekeeper needs to know, from buying equipment to harvesting your very own honey. With clear, step-by-step instructions on handling and checking your bees, helpful tips and advice on keeping them healthy and productive and also featuring a collection of tempting honey-based recipes for you to try, "Keeping Bees" contains everything a modern beekeeper should know.

 

Project

Recommended Quilting Project: Mother Earth Quilt Samples This charming quilt will allow you to escape with a unique look into your garden. Mother Earth and Her Children is a 1906 childhood tale by Sibylle von Olfers, translated by Jack Zipes and illustrated with Sieglind Schoen Smith's award-winning quilt. Sure to be a summer pleaser for your summer picnics!

Celebration: The Trivialities of Beekeeping

By Mackenzie Treible

Our culture stereotypically labels honeybees as aggressive and caustic, but the small pollinators should instead be acclaimed for their humility and helpfulness toward sustaining humanity. To comment upon Nelson Mandela’s axiom “If you want to make peace with the enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner,” honeybees are necessary to achieve a stable and reliable economy. Not until people can recognize the importance of accommodating honeybees will the success of agriculture in the near future be securely promised. Unknowingly, bees and humans work side by side. Bees pollinate plum trees, lettuce crops, blueberry bushes, and many more plants essential to the world than what the average person truly understands. Without them, the 90 billion dollar agriculture industry would be in ruins. Pollution caused imminently by humans has devastatingly hindered honeybees’ ability to survive in the already deteriorating environment.

Due to pollution, honeybees have completely disappeared in the Hanyuan County in the Sichuan Province of China, whose primary source of revenue is agriculture, specifically pears. In order for the county’s small family-owned businesses to survive, farmers must devote day and night to hand pollination of each individual pear blossom with a small feather-brush to do what honeybees once did naturally and for free. It is my goal to keep farms and orchards in Oregon from needing heat lamps, feather-brushes, and pollen excluders.

I began my own business, Mes Abeilles, Garden and Orchard Beekeeping, LLC, in 2007. Mes Abeilles establishes beehives for commercial and residential farms in Oregon. Ideally, I would like to keep the local farms from following harmful pesticide practices and to help bees work naturally in tandem with the farmers. In the springtime I bring in hives and cultivate them for my clients on their land. What “cultivation” entails is the introduction of the bees to the hive by rotation of frames to change location of the queen, feeding the bees their first few months to ensure their settlement, and medicating the bees to keep them safe from trachea mites and harmful viruses. The two most important and often times overlooked aspects of beekeeping are location and sun exposure. The primary reason for inexperienced beekeepers’ failure in the first few years is that they do not move their hives according to the flower bloom. Hives must be moved, but what is most complicated is the “two-move rule.” Hives can either be moved two feet or two miles per day in order for the bees to find their way back to the hive. If moved more than two feet but less than two miles in one day, then the bees will become confused and die because they can smell remnants of hormones sprayed on their previous location. Hives must also be kept warm and exposed so the sun will hit the entrance early in the morning and will shadow the entrance late at night. The particular sun exposure results in the bees staying out of the hives, collecting maximum pollen.

I do my best to help keep Oregon’s farms sustainable and green by aiding them with their hive establishment. The necessity for honeybees is often overlooked due to the scathing burn of their stingers. Humanity needs to recognize the true selflessness of bees and their positive attributes of free pollination, so that some day honeybees will live in a pollutant free world where humans, who reap the benefits, can appreciate Apis mellifera Linnaeus.

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