Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I Can't Figure Out Why Everyone's Not A Beekeeper!
For the life of me, I can't figure out why everyone doesn't keep bees. It is a blast! I suppose bees have been falsely portrayed as "killler bees" taking over homes and whole cities. That's Hollywood, not reality. Anyone can keep bees. It's easy. As you continue keeping bees over the years, you learn more and more.
Most beekeepers find their bees to be very calm and workable. About a month ago, I worked about 20 of our hives with no shirt on. Not one sting. Sometimes, I just sit by my hives, and watch the bees work, flying in and out. It's therapeutic. Here's what a few hives looked like this afternoon.
Honeybees are extremely profitable, with one hive alone making nearly $500 per year. Not to mention what hives earn in pollination. My long range goal is to operate 4,000 hives, raise and sell queens and packaged bees. I am currently attempting to breed a special Illinois survival stock queen. Wouldn't it be something to able to breed a queen that is resistant toward the cause(s) of CCD! Like Thomas Edison, I've eliminated a lot of mistakes in queen rearing in 2007. I'll be that much ahead for 2008.
To help finance the increase in the number of our hives we manufacture beehive wooden ware. We also provide beekeeping equipment such as electrical hot uncapping knives, micron honey filters, protective clothing, smokers, hive tools, fume boards and fume and the whole works!!
Not only do we sell honey, but we also melt and mold our own beeswax. People love to buy pure beeswax. It smells so good and can be used for making candles, lotion, lip balm, and lubricating bows or sticky drawers--just to name a few of its many uses. After processing the honey supers, we have a lot of wax cappings left over. These cappings make the finest, and newest beeswax. They are washed thoroughly to remove any honey from the wax. We repeat this wash cycle several times.
Then, we melt our wax the old fashion way. We simply melt it in a large pan on the family's grill. Here's how we get our grill going good to melt our wax. Seems like a few steaks and some chicken gets the fire good and ready to melt the wax. Of course, the fire is only ready about the time I have finished my steak dinner. After all, there's no need to let all that good charcoal go to waste, right! Who needs to buy an expensive wax melter when you can have such a good excuse for eating steak!
After the wax melts, I allow the more solid matter within the wax to sink to the bottom of the pan. Then, I pour it into another container that has a cloth filter on the top. From this container, I am now ready to pour the wax into my various shaped molds. It hardens very fast, then it pops out real easy. It is then wrapped and sold, locally or through our Internet stores.
So you can see why I ask, "Why doesn't everyone keep bees?"