Wareham Farm’s Beekeeping Posts Are Buzzworthy
Pumpkintown Farm Soaps in Wareham is serious about saving the bees.
You can see it all over their Facebook page, a treasure trove of up-close educational posts about the importance of bees in our world.
I was lucky enough to chat with 35-year-old owner Elizabeth Arone, who was born and raised in West Wareham. I had a few questions and she was so helpful in sharing all of her bizzz-ness.
Fun 107: How many hours a day do you put into helping the bees?
Elizabeth Beekeeping is sorta like a self-serving hobby. The honey bees do all the work, however, inspections every seven to 10 days during spring and summer is a good target. Inspecting more than that can make the honey bees irritated because it can disrupt their hive activity and rhythm. Regular inspections allow you to identify if the hive is healthy, if the queen is laying eggs, if there are mites, pests, etc., and the colony’s overall health. When a hive is at its peak population, I can easily spend 45 minutes inspecting a single hive.
What is the most difficult part about what you do with bees?
The most difficult part of beekeeping, for me personally, is losing a beehive to CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). CCD is a phenomenon that happens when worker bees in a colony disappear. They leave behind their queen, all their food and just a few nurse bees to care for immature bees. Research about this disorder is still ongoing but suggests that pesticides, mites and poor beekeeping practices may be the culprit. Educating the public about this is important to me. Another really hard part is wearing a bee suit in August. I’ve learned to interpret bee behavior and temperament so I don’t have to wear one when it’s so hot.
What can people do to help the bees on their properties?
People can help honey bees by not using pesticides, plain and simple. Planting pollinator gardens is a close second. In our area, choose a native northeast wildflower variety and broadcast them in your yard.
How many bees do you have on your farm right now?
About 160,000 at peak season. A queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day.
What is your farm's goal for the season?
Honey, honey, honey! My community loves honey. I am in my second year using the Flow Hive. It is an Australian beehive designed to extract honey without disrupting the bees. I had a lot of success with it last year so I purchased a second one. You literally plug in a tube in the back of the hive slot and honey pours from the comb. No unnecessary and messy honey harvesting. It also has an observation window to see them working.
Doesn't it sound like Elizabeth is passionate about bees? While I'm so scared of bees, it's so interesting to me to hear so much about them and how important they are to us. While I never try to kill a bee, I certainly do my best to dodge them whenever they come around.