I have known this particular bee keeper, "Mr. Tom", for over 20 years and we are related distantly by marriage. We spend time together almost every summer, and I normally see him during the Christmas holidays too. Well into his 70's- he's wise, careful, energetic, thoughtful, funny, and I've always admired his enthusiasm for life. Needless to say, I was impressed when he began telling me about his adventures in bee keeping a few years ago, and I indicated I would like to see his operation.
My request was granted one day in June.
Mr Tom moved with confidence and skill. At no time did he flinch when a bee landed on him. He simply brushed it away and continued on with his work of checking the Super and pulling out the wooden slats inside to check the honey and to see if it was properly sealed. Honey which is completely sealed by the bees will last over 100 years (or more) and never spoil.
The average hive has 5,000 to 20,000 bees inside! When the smoke is pumped into the hive the bees make a sound akin to a massive vibration. It's hard to describe the sound, but it's not a noise I will ever forget. The smoke is meant to calm the bees, which it does, but the noise they make made me wonder if we wouldn't get swarmed, but alas, we did not.
Of course the reward came later the next week when I went back to Oxford to help process the honey from the comb, which was a sweeter and less dangerous adventure, but an adventure all the same. From all the hives Mr. Tom owns or operates he gathered several gallons of honey, which he sells for $10.00 a pint, and I assure you it's worth every cent! It's even worth getting stung, but I'm probably the only one who thinks so! :)
And if you want some honey- send me an email, I know exactly where to get it :)