An Inspiring Introduction to Beekeeping

IMG_7652Continuing my quest to learn more about bees, I recently attended a beginners day on beekeeping  at my former workplace – The Glasshouses, Killult

Hive Health

The day began with watching several videos from The University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre on best techniques for opening hives and colony inspection.

In summer, it is good practice to check each hive on a weekly basis.

Mating Hives

Our practical experience included checking on mating hives, where virgin queens are left alone with 300 bees, thus ensuring future generations.


Please note that although I had donned a protective suit, my ankles remained bare.  Thankfully, the bees stayed away from my feet.

It is wise to completely cover up.

Mating Hive Inspection

Each hive was carefully inspected, and the bees all looked healthy and happy.

The white substance on the right is fondant, which the bees like to eat.


Hive Inspection

We continued our practical studies at the main beehives, located near an abundance of wildflowers.


Our tutor opened the hive, and we got a close look at the inside.


As each frame was held high, we identified pollen in cells, Drone cells, Worker cells, the Queen…

Drone cells have a raised appearance, and Worker cells have a flatter seal.


The Queen

The Queen is usually marked with dye to allow for quicker identification. Each year, the dye colour is changed, which allows beekeepers to monitor the age of each Queen.

In a healthy hive, a Queen Bee will live for at least two years but can live for up to five. She can lay up to 2500 eggs in a day.

Drones and Worker Bees

Sadly, Drones have a lifespan of up to four months, while Worker bees can live for four months in winter, or just six to seven weeks in summer.

Life Long Learning

The day was incredibly interesting, but I realise now that beekeeping entails life long learning.

I shall endeavour to continue my studies.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:

Supporting Natural Honeybees at Cluain na dTor Gardens

An Inspiring Introduction to Beekeeping – Part 2



  1. Really really cool. Even though I’m allergic to bee stings, I have always wanted to explore the art of bee keeping. And I will one day don a suit and learn about hive society I just know it!
    BTW: Love your fashion statement –

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There is something very cool about bees. My sister has three hives and shares a lot of what she does with me (virtually). They all wear that outfit, don’t they? This was quite interesting, Brigid. Didn’t know you were into this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow so interesting and scary. I did notice your bare ankles and soles of your feet, glad you remained safe. You are in inspiration in general and a great ambassador for life long learning. Great post. Thank you for making me wiser in the world of beekeeping – something until now didn’t know too much about.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We had professional bee hives on the farm by agistment but the Beekeeper did all the work. Our part was eating the honey we received from him 😀
    Great post Brigid, you look as though you really enjoyed the time.
    Bless you,

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are a brave and inspiring woman! I have several acquaintances who have taken up beekeeping. They are quiet people who have farms or large acres of land, and feel a spiritual connection to the bees. I wonder if you do also? This post is fascinating, and the photos real enough that I thought I heard bees buzzing…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It sounds nice reading about it, but i think I’ll limit the experience to reading and being amazed – too much of a coward to get near all the buzzing. I was surprised they mark the bee queen with dye.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. All the best for your bee hiving pursuits Brigid. It goes so well with your love of gardening and nature. I can imagine the bees in the garden pollinating all the flowers. A lovely image.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a fantastic thing to get to do! Not something I’d have the stomach for I’m not good with anything creepy crawly or with wings. I hadn’t realised quite how short the life span is for both drones & worker bees. That’s really sad. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Absolutely fascinating, Brigid! 😀 I’m in awe of your courage to venture so close! Glad your ankles were okay! The photos and information about the hives and bees are interesting and I had no idea their lives were so short. Do you have your own hive at home? Will you be getting one?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh this looks so great. I didn’t know the life span of bees, thanks for the info. I think you would like this book, Song of Increase by Jacqueline Freeman, it’s on Amazon. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  11. lovely and informative Brigid, thank you, I am interested to know more, just for knowledge, not to start my own bee keeping, but so very fascinated about this branch of agriculture. the fondant was quaint, how amazing is that! happy learning!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s