Beekeepers Associations and Groups · Bees · Lazer Creek Apiary

Beekeeper Certification

Certified Beekeeper Certificate

It’s been years since Hubby earned his Certified Beekeeper certificate and he is already working toward the next step. For me, it’s been years of not being able to take days off work at the end of the school year to take the classes or the test. Well, most of that occurs on weekends, but my weekends and evenings were filled up with essay grading and other tasks, and I didn’t feel like I had enough brain power left to take a test in May!

I was therefore very happy to receive an email about a test session in Atlanta on a Saturday this June. I even read the email very shortly after it arrived (which doesn’t happen often) and was able to book one of the few remaining test times. Whew.

The next hurdle was driving into downtown Atlanta. Even when I drove in heavy city traffic and on Interstates daily, I did not like Atlanta traffic. As I almost never drive even close to an Interstate these days, Hubby was kind enough to be my chauffeur. As it was, Hubby had to tolerate my gasps and squeaks as aggressive drivers zigged and zagged across lanes far too close to us. Do I sound like I’m 20 years or so older than I actually am? Yes, I was in full-on crazy bee-lady mode.

We made it in one piece and with plenty of time to spare and met some very nice people from across the state who were also waiting for their test times. Now from what Hubby remembers of his test, he had about half the number of written test questions I had and only 8 hive components to name compared to my 20. The first page or so of my written test was all fill-in-the-blank questions and I became quite nervous when people started turning pages while I was only halfway down page one. Then I realized that they were going to go back to that part later! Onto the practical portions. The first frames on my hive inspection were all honey, and those were followed by capped honey with a perfect circle of capped brood in the middle. Our bees are not that organized! One frame even had some pollen stuffed in one cell. No other pollen or bee bread on the frame. Weird. Halfway through the box, things started to look more normal and I was able to identify everything I needed to show the examiner.

Some of the questions on the test and some of the hive components had me doubting myself for the 10 days it took to receive my results, but I am now a certified beekeeper. While the day was not without its challenges (traffic, heavy rain, nerves), reviewing our books was priceless. There are things I had forgotten which I am now implementing, and there were things that I hadn’t fully understood at the time I first read the books but now have the hands-on experience to marry what I’ve seen with what the books explain.

A week ago, I firmly believed that I would not pursue certification any further than this, but now I am again considering going all the way to master beekeeper, mainly because of the increased depth of knowledge I gained. Between bees, soaps, essential oils, and gardening, I certainly have enough to keep my mind busy, but I know a variety of interests is what keeps me happy.

Of course, the bees were unimpressed and rewarded me with multiple stings the week after I received my results. The pollen dearth is here, the sourwood nectar is running low, thunderstorms abound, and the bees are cranky. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Even while digging a stinger out from a finger tip, life is good on the farm.

Nature · Pests - General

Lady bird, lady bird, fly away home.

 

Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.

 

Lady birds (lady bugs to Americans) have long been known as beneficial insects that eat aphids, pine  beetles, and other annoying pests.  Each lady bug eats thousands of aphids, so I have often thought about buying some to protect our rose bushes without the use of chemicals.   Young Harris College is working in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission to save hemlock trees from the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid by distributing lady bugs, one of HWA’s few natural predators.   Clemson University recommends using them to treat scale on oak trees.

I tried to keep all of these benefits in mind as we installed our gate last weekend, but it’s hard to think of lady bugs in a totally positive light when working in a swarm of them!   For one thing, they bite.  It seems that the more yellow they are, the more they bite.   And, as you can read on Garden Insects, “[w]hen disturbed, they may secrete an odorous, distasteful fluid out of their joints to discourage enemies.”   I ended up with many bites and smears of the “distasteful fluid” any place they could access.

  • Tip 1:  don’t wear a v-neck t-shirt as they appear to be curious little critters who are less likely to find their way under a higher neckline.
  • Tip 2:  be short.  Now, I don’t have enough evidence to conclusively say this is a benefit, but both my husband and BIL ended up with dis-taste-ful lady bugs in their mouths a few times while I did not.  Maybe the ladybugs are misandristic, but I like to think my height (or lack thereof) gave me an advantage that balanced out the v-neck disadvantage.
  • Tip 3:  stay in the shade as much as possible as they love the heat of the sun, especially on a November morning.

If they are protecting our trees from pine beetles, I will come to love them again, …..just as soon as these bites stop itching!