By Robert McGugan
Two of our staff members here at d.tech do beekeeping in their free time: Mr. Bolt and Mr. Sullivan. Bolt initially got into beekeeping because of a Groupon for a one-day class. He said that he doesn’t sell the honey he produces, he mainly gives it away and uses it himself.
Bolt also explained how the hives are set up. He said that typically you have two full size “brooding boxes” stacked on top of each other. These boxes hold frames and are where the bees live and where the queen makes more bees. Stacked on top of the two “brooding boxes” are boxes called “honey supers.” The “honey supers” contain the excess honey from the hive in frames. To harvest the honey you take the frames out of the “honey supers” and put them into a centrifuge. You can get a hand crank centrifuge or a motorized one. Beekeepers use smoke to calm the bees, so that when they open the hive, the bees are docile and do not attack them.
Mr. Bolt says that he typically doesn’t have to worry about the bees’ predators. When I asked him if it was difficult and time consuming he said that, “The only thing that is time consuming is extracting the honey,” and that it isn’t very difficult. I learned from Mr. Bolt that while bees are still active during the winter, the colony size greatly decreases, because there is less demand for workers. He says that he would absolutely recommend it because, “for one, it’s a great hobby,” and as a bonus you get to harvest and consume your own honey. Beekeeping at home is also great for the environment, because the bee population has decreased in recent years. Bees contribute to a third of the country’s food supply through pollination, so bees are very important to our environment. It’s fantastic that both Mr. Bolt and Mr. Sullivan are making a difference with their beekeeping hobbies!