The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it. -Jacques Yves Cousteau
The Prelude: Gearing Up for the Beekeeping Adventure
With our beehives constructed and the necessary equipment in hand, the next crucial step in our beekeeping journey beckoned: learning the art and science of bee care. February 2023 marked our entry into the Cabarrus County Beekeeping School, an experience that promised to turn us from enthusiastic novices into informed beekeepers.
An Intensive Dive into Beekeeping Knowledge
This nine-week course was a hive of information, covering virtually every aspect of beekeeping we could imagine. The instructors provided a detailed monthly guide, a roadmap of sorts, which included treatments, feeding schedules, splitting hives, adding boxes, and much more. The curriculum didn’t shy away from the challenges either. It delved into various bee diseases, how to recognize them, and the necessary interventions – some of which were drastic but necessary for the hive’s survival. A striking example is the American Foulbrood; a disease so severe that it warrants burning all wooden equipment to prevent its spread, believed to remain dormant in wood for up to a century.
Testing Our Beekeeping Mettle
As the class neared its conclusion, an exciting challenge was presented: the Beekeeping Certification written test. While not mandatory for beekeeping in North Carolina, this certification was a testament to our understanding and commitment to maintaining healthy hives. My mom and I, armed with flashcards and study guides, approached the test with a mix of nervous excitement and readiness. Our efforts paid off – we passed with flying colors, a sweet victory born from weeks of quizzing each other during our drives to and from the class.
Looking Forward: The Path to Certification
But our educational journey didn’t end with the written test. True certification requires a practical, hands-on examination – a test of our skills with the bees themselves, scheduled four months post our initial foray into beekeeping. This meant our real test would come once we had our own bees and had delved into the hands-on experience of managing our hives.