Lisa Munniksma

freelance writing, editing, farming, travel

Wintertime snack

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Bee hives are pretty self-sustaining, but they need a little nutritional help during the winter.

Bee hives are pretty self-sustaining, but they need a little nutritional help during the winter.

Apart from getting stung by a wild bee at the farm in Sardinia in November, I haven’t had the opportunity to work with bees on my travels. I love the idea of beekeeping, though, and want to learn more about it so I can someday employ a colony or two of my own to pollinate my garden and provide me with local, healthful honey.

During winter, there’s not much beekeeping action taking place, so it was total luck that on the Greek island of Kefalonia, farmer Kostas needed to check on his hives during my stay. It’s been cold (by Mediterranean standards) and windy, so the bees haven’t been able to get out and feed themselves much lately–never mind that when they do go out, there are limited pollen sources during this time of year. On this windy day, I stood by,¬†watched and took a few photos (zoom lens in use) while Kostas checked on his insect charges and gave them some nutrition in the form of a sugar supplement.

This pack of sugar supplement helps to keep the bees fed when the weather is bad and the pollen sources are limited.

This pack of sugar supplement helps to keep the bees fed when the weather is bad and the pollen sources are limited.

The pack of bee nutrition should feed a healthy, active hive for three weeks or so. Kostas was disappointed to find one hive with no activity at all and one hive with very little activity and only half of the previous meal eaten. The three others, though, were very much alive and had consumed all of their nutrition supplement.

It took as long for us to drive to the apiary-supply store for the bees’ food as it did for Kostas to check on the hives and place the food packs inside, but I was still happy with this little glimpse into beekeeping. Now, of course, I want more!

4 Comments

  1. BUZZZZZ! Too cool! Interesting!

  2. It is said that beekeepers have better immune systems than most because of all the bee stings they endure. You can live longer and healthier with a few stings!

  3. Aren’t all bees wild? I have heard that other people intentionally sting themselves to control pain.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/woman-is-addicted-to-stinging-herself-with-bees

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