Beekeeping 101 With Red Headed Honey
By RHONDA BIGOVICH, TRT Contributing Writer
The owner of Red Headed Honey, Niki Backes earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, but left Indiana and decided to become a bee keeper. For the past 10 years Backes has lived in Northern California where she maintains 30 man-made beehives placed on properties from Willow Creek to Hawkins Bar.
Backes offers classes to teach beginners how to create their own honey hives. On Saturday, Feb. 2, students arrived at the Dream Quest youth center in Willow Creek eager to learn the skill of beekeeping.
The course goes over the behavior of bees, their life cycles and the work of certain bees. She also teaches on how to care for the beehive, the gear necessary to handle the many components of the hive, and what PPE (personal protective equipment) is needed to prevent serious injury.
“I promise you, you will get stung,” she said. “Always keep an epi-pen handy and Benadryl in case anyone has a reaction to the bee venom.”
“You don’t have to micro manage, they are smarter and older than we are, they know what they are doing,” Backes said.
It takes 21 days for a honey bee to develop. After they develop, they have a life span of five to seven years.
The honey bee is a fascinating creature they are the only insect that make a food that is edible by humans. Not only do they provide a 25 percent increase in tree and plant pollination, the honey bee produces bees wax and another substance called propolis. Propolis is bee glue, made from resins, it can be consumed by humans as a health supplements and it’s used in cosmetics.
The red headed honey will be hosting a second class “Another ball of wax,” she jokes. The class will instruct students on proper bee handling techniques. Students will also learn how to work with a new bee package.
A package of bees, are a man-made beginner nest, consisting of a queen bee, along with the worker bee and the drone bee. Kits don’t usually come with a wooden box, or hive, but one can be made at home.
“If you wait until June, chances are, the newly formed beehive may not adapt and will most likely not make it through summer,” Backes said.
Backes said it’s best to order kits now. If interested in classes or products of the Red Headed Honey, can call 530-629-3852.