Monday, May 28, 2012

Beekeeping in Redwood City

This Saturday was so awesome. I have always been interested in beekeeping but have never known how to get into it. So when I saw a Living Social deal for a beekeeping class in the area, I was ecstatic.  Andrew has never been keen on the idea of beekeeping as a hobby, but since he goes through honey quicker than I believe any other human does, he thought it could actually turn into something worthwhile for him and agreed to accompany me. The deal promised it would be a hands-on experience with organic beekeeping (wearing a super cool bee suit) and we’d leave with the knowledge to assemble and populate our own hives to harvest honey.  
When we arrived at Red Rock Honey in Redwood City, CA, we were pretty surprised that the location was actually a residence and not a commercial facility. We went in the back yard where the family had many hives. We sat on the porch, away from the grassy area where the hives were housed, and learned from the master beekeeper. This guy was so knowledgeable and talked for hours. I would have never thought there could be so much to learn about the hobby. After our brains were packed full, we suited up and went to a hive. The beekeeper took apart a hive, showing us each frame. We even got to see the queen at work! Notice in the pictures that he didn’t wear gloves. He never does, but did get stung once and acted like it was nothing. It reminded me of a couple years back when I got stung while camping and my eyes welled up in tears because it was so painful. And the rest of the day I could feel the heat radiating from it. Perhaps I’m just a bit of a baby (ok, I know that’s part of it), but bee stings hurt and his reaction was as if a fly landed on him!

At the end of the day we did a honey tasting. This tasting was better than Napa! It was Heaven for a honey-lover. We tried their different varieties and also comb and whipped honey. Honey is supposed to be an amazing superfood- used to boost immunity, a natural remedy for stomach ailments, and even has anti-cancer properties. So, really, we were just honey sampling in the name of health!

After all this, I’m pretty set on the idea of not starting a hive. There is just too much to learn and even if you do everything correctly, you will not likely have honey production until year #3. There are also way too many diseases that can wipe out your whole colony and they can even destroy your equipment. Andy and I will just stick to buying our honey. It turns out it’s actually very cheap for the amount of work (and love!) that goes into it.

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