Bee house impression

Do you like honey?

And do you appreciate knowledgeable local beekeepers?

I do, so when Lenka, a colleague of mine, invited me to participate in the 1st year of “Honey days” planned to be held in their family bee house, I was looking forward to that occasion. And I was not disappointed at all when the day arrived as I got to know a lot about how bees are cared for, how the honey is made and collected, and what are the rules of proper beekeeping. Moreover, the weather was fine and the atmosphere of the  excursion was very friendly and kind.

One usually sees just a few beehives together but this family bee house is quite big, forming a U shape. As lots of work is done during weekends, it is constructed in such a way that access to the beehives is from the inside and thus independent of weather. I loved that solution, it’s very practical.

I didn’t know what to expect when we entered the inside and felt slightly uneasy when watching Lenka’s father took out first frames with bees but I got quickly accustomed to the scenery and felt intrigued by the information Lenka’s father was sharing. Strangely enough, I felt respect towards the bees but was not afraid of them although I was staying quite close. I even felt comfortable and that definitely was unexpected.

Lenka’s father checked some of the hives and took out a few frames with sufficient amount of honey for us to see how it is processed. The bees seemed to be quite at ease with the process.

The frames were transported for further processing into a room furnished with necessary equipment. Lenka showed us how the surface wax layer has to be removed, then put thus prepared frames into a centrifuge and we could see the honey pouring through a filter into a big container from which it was tapped into smaller glass containers.

We could taste the honey and it was delicious. I bought one of the jars to enjoy the taste further at home and I can tell you, it’s a different experience to eat such honey after watching the process in comparison with eating honey you know nothing about.

This scope of beekeeping must be quite challenging and time-consuming but on the other hand, maintaining the family tradition, seeing results of the work and holding certificates proving quality of the honey must be very satisfying.

I neither like nor buy those anonymous mixtures of honey coming from anonymous sources (I mean those described on their labels as “produced in countries inside and outside of EU” etc.) and find it important to support local producers taking proper care for both the bees and their products. Lenka and her father impressed me and I wish them good luck and prosperous beekeeping!

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6 Comments

  1. Linda in Indiana

    I have a friend who kept bees for awhile, not on the large scale of your colleague and her father, though. I was fascinated, too, by her account of all that goes into keeping the hives and getting the honey. This has been a most interesting post. Was that Lenka in the photo, holding one of the frames, without any protective garments?

    1. Linda, this has been my first experience of seeing and visiting such a big bee house. The general principles must be the same but there is so much more to take care of… Yes, that is Lenka in the photo with her father. She helps him and would even like to study beekeeping, I keep my fingers crossed for her to get the chance.

  2. We once (long ago) had a bee hive in our back yard. We were strictly amateurs, with no real idea of what we were doing. The honey-gathering process was quite messy, but on the whole It was a very interesting experience. I’ve never seen anything like this bee house here in the USA, only hive boxes. It all looks so neat and tidy!

    1. León, it IS neat and tidy… and the bees behaved themselves. What an experience! 🙂
      What surprised me a lot were those calm feelings I had inside the bee house. I still perceive them although the visit took place almost three weeks ago.

  3. What a wonderful experience! I love honey and growing up in Virginia we knew many people who had their own hives. Certainly not on the level as your friends here, but still quality honey being produced. I’m sure one day it’ll be a lost art and especially concerning with the reduction in bees in general that I’ve been reading about and experiencing personally here in Arizona. Great post!

    1. Robin, thanks. I surely hope beekeeping will never become lost art, honey is such a wonderful natural product. But the truth is that there ARE many dangers affecting bees, some of them hard to avoid, and that you also need people investing their time and energy into the beekeeping and collecting the honey, lots of work to do…

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