Bee School is Pure Happiness
New homes for wayward bees, leaning in to power tools, and harvesting honey
I recently took a small break from Bean School to take the first steps toward my dreamiest of dreams: to grow a field of flowers and have my own beehive in the middle of that field to harvest flower-specific honey. My farming mentor Mike sent me an email a few months ago about beekeeping classes at a local farm here in San Diego, and I’ve never signed up for school so fast. I’m not gonna lie—I was very excited for the bee keeping uniform; I love a jumpsuit.
The class at Wild Willow Farm started with the basics of bees—different types (workers, drones, foragers, etc); how the queen gives off different pheromones to tell the bees what to do; how bees spread that scent through a motion called “fanning.” Did you know not all bees live in a hive? There are also solitary bees that sleep inside of flowers, and absolutely nothing you tell me will be more precious than the visual of a bee curling up with a flower petal.
We built hives—from store-bought kits and from scratch using scrap wood. Someone thought I looked responsible enough to use a table saw, which is hilarious because I still look around for the adult in the room. File that under things I thought I’d never do. The only power tool I use is a stand mixer so this was another new experience that I quite enjoyed. The hive boxes were painted with white, water-based latex paint, which helps reflect the sun and regulate temperature inside of the hive.