Having Guests Visit Your Beeyard


| 10/10/2013 9:07:00 AM


Tags: beeyard, apiary, Jennifer Ford, New York,

Honeybees are in the news a lot these days, and it seems like everyone wants to know more about beekeeping. Recently, I was approached by an acquaintance about the possibility of bringing a friend and their children out to visit the beeyard. 

My husband and I are both teachers, and love the idea of sharing what we know about beekeeping with others. But it also takes some planning to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable visit. The goal is to educate people about honey bees, and to make sure they have a good experience. We wanted our visitors to leave our beeyard excited about bees and beekeeping. Because children were visiting, there were a few additional things we thought we should keep in mind. It is good to keep explanations and information short and simple, because if you talk too long, young minds will wander. Making it as hands on as possible is also a good idea - if there is anything that the kids can help you with, let them!

The first thing we decided we needed were veils for everyone. We have 18 beehives in our beeyard, which means lots of bee traffic. Even thought it wasn’t likely, we didn’t want anyone to have a bad experience because of a bee sting. We were able to repair a few old veils, and borrow some “bug shirts” that have a built in screened hood. I also let our guests know ahead of time to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts.

The next step was to plan what activities, and which hives we would like to show our guests. The grouchy hive near the back? Probably not the best choice to introduce people to beekeeping with! We decided that we would do an inspection of a hive that we started this year. The hive is gentle, short enough that children could look into it, and close to the fence. It is also not directly in the “flight path” that most of the bees take when leaving the yard to fly out over the neighboring field. If anyone was nervous about walking into the beeyard itself they could still stand near the fence so we could show them some of the frames. We also decided to remove a super of honey from another hive so they could see how we actually get honey from the hive. We put an escape board on that hive the day before the scheduled visit.

beeyard visit The morning of the visit, we brought everything we needed out to the beeyard, so we wouldn’t be making trips back and forth to the house. We also made sure to disconnect the electric fence around the yard!

When our guest arrived, they were very excited to see the beehives. We took them out near the beeyard, and spent just a couple of minutes giving them some background information such as how long we had been beekeeping, how many hives we have, where we get our bees, etc. 

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