Behind the Scenes: My Apiary
I've been a beekeeper for four years. My mom and I started Shamrock Apiaries and with the help of our mentor we started three hives, and in our first summer we caught a swarm and moved up to four, as of today we have six hives. Beekeeping may take a lot of time and work, but
We name each of our queen bees after real queens. We have Elizabeth, Victoria, Marie Antoinette and Cleopatra. Are newest hives, RuPaul and Trixie Mattel, are named after drag queens. We started naming them to help keep track of them. We take notes every time we di a hive inspection and I just didn't like the idea of calling them hive one.
We have a solar powered electric fence around them to protect them from raccoons, skunks, and even bears. Although I'm not sure it's strong enough to stop a bear.
We do keep the honey and wax but we're not in it for the honey. I like to think of it as the rent they pay. We just want to take care of them and learn everything about them. I think of them more as pets than livestock.
We try our hardest to keep the little girls alive. I just love watching them and working with them. Keeping bees is so rewarding even without the honey.
We harvest any excess honey they have in the fall. The brood boxes (the two large ones on the bottom of each hive) carry enough honey for the bees to make it through the winter, and the top boxes (honey supers) are for us. Sometimes the bees don't fill the honey supers at all. Any wax I get comes from harvesting the honey. We only take the very top layer off of each frame and leave an almost finished frame for the bees to use next year. I use the wax for candles, lip balms, and hand creams.