"The Lord bless thee and keep thee...."
- Numbers 6:24
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How Bees Make Honey
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Raising Bees at Quaker Hill Farm
A story for children written by Quaker Anne
This might be a good resource for young home schoolers - pass it on!
Quaker Bill is a beekeeper. A beekeeper is a person who raises and loves honey bees. Bill began raising bees because his father was a beekeeper when he was a little boy. As a beekeeper, Bill is inspired by the gift God gave mankind creating honey bees that produce honey not only for themselves but a surplus for people to eat and enjoy also.
Bill likes to check his hives in the afternoon on calm sunny days. He seldom wears a suit because he is very careful and considerate of the nature of bees and he doesn't mind if a bee sometimes stings him. Today, Bill is going to check his new hives.
First, Bill smokes the hive. This makes the bees calm so they won't mind when he visits their home.
Then, Bill carefully lifts the lid off the super. A super is a box that holds frames where bees make and store honey. It is essentially their "house".
Bill removes the lid and quietly places it on the ground. He tries hard not to jar the hive to keep the bees calm. Bees are not mean at all. They simply want to protect their home so they are on the look out for predators. Bill is not a predator, he considers himself their friend and steward, someone who cares for and takes good care of the bees.
Now, Bill lifts out a frame. A frame is where bees make honey comb to store honey in. Each comb chamber is very little, smaller around than a pencil. It takes many, many honey filled chambers to produce even 1 tablespoon of honey. Honey bees work very, very hard to make honey. Honey bees often travel more than 4 miles to collect pollen and nectar from flowers and blossoms in order to make honey.
Look closely, can you see the individual comb chambers? Once the bees have filled each chamber with honey, they cap it with a thin layer of bees wax. In this photo, you can see chambers that are not filled up yet and those which are filled and capped. Once honey bees fill a frame completely with honey, they look for an empty frame to begin filling.
Honey bees work all summer long to make honey and only take a break from visiting flowers on rainy days.
Look at this frame, it is almost completely full. The honey bees will be looking for a new frame to start working on soon! A good beekeeper keeps a close watch on his hives so his honey bees always have what they need.
Bill is now getting hungry but he forgot to pack his lunch! So, he thinks it might be a nice snack to eat a piece of sweet, nutritious honey comb. Ummm, nothing could seem better! But wait! Aren't there bees on that comb? Bill can't tell because he does not have his glasses on.
Oh, no! Don't take a bite, there are bees on that comb!! Poor Bill, the bees will not be happy to be in his mouth!
Bill smiles, he knew there were bees on that comb - he was just playing a joke on us! Silly Bill!
Remember, honey is a very good food for people and honey bees work hard to make it for us. We should always thank God for having created the honey bee so that we can have such delicious and nutritious food as honey to enjoy!
Bee nice to bees - they are our friends and a precious creation of God!
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