This year in Papingo a few of us lucky apprentices got to experience beekeeping! I was a little nervous but once we met Demitri, my fear was eased because I knew we were in very capable hands. First, we walked a long trail through Megalo where we reached an electric fence surrounding 100 blue stacks of boxes. Demitri told us that the electricity was to keep the bears away from the bees. As much as we love Winnie the Pooh, we don’t want him messing with our hives! The fence was opened and we approached a small shack with our beekeeping materials. Demitri handed each of us but one a suit (there wasn’t enough so Rachel S didn’t mind zipping up her jacket) Complete with white wide brim hats and mesh masks we were ready for the bees! Before we could take any of the frames out Demitri had to burn some bark in a metal can to get smoke into the boxes. The properties in the smoke calms the bees down and allows us humans to get closer to the honey. We got a close look at the honeycombs, honey and the bees! They were very docile and allowed us to politely peer into their world for a moment. Demitri took a scraper to the wax revealing honey! Each of us put our fingers to the comb and tasted the freshest most natural honey. We learned that the way honey is made is by bees collecting nectar from flowers, vomiting it up into the combs, flapping their wings to heat it up and dehydrate it. To store the honey, the bees will cap the combs with wax. The combs are also used as incubators for new bees to be hatched in. Demitri told us how the queen bee will only mate once in her life. She will fly as high as she can in the sky and whichever male bees (3-4 of them) get to her first will be the winners. After the male bee has mated with the queen he will die. The queen gives birth to eggs 3 times her weight every day. Bees usually live from 2 weeks to a month max, so there are constantly new bees being born! A beehive is the most royal and democratic system that exists on our planet. The queen bee is very honorable but if the hive does not like how she is working, they will collectively kill her and adopt a new queen.
We had so much fun learning about and looking at bees!! We even wrote a song about it.
To the tune of “Imma Be” by the Black Eyed Peas. Below you can see some pictures and the video of our song!