Fitness Fundraising for Honey Bees!
When I decided to become a Beachbody Coach I made a commitment to donate any of my profits and commissions towards saving honey bees and sponsoring beekeepers. I’m so excited to have raised enough funds through development of my “Fitness Fundraising” to help support a local area beekeeper – Tyson. Anyone who has participated in my fitness challenge groups and purchased Beachbody products through me in return has enabled Tyson to keep doing more of the important work with honey bees in the Washington, D. C. area. Tyson thanks you, I thank you and most importantly the honey bees thank you! Without them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy all the healthy, fresh fruits and vegetable to keep our bodies in shape and feeling great. Enjoy this story about his efforts and we’ll keep you posted throughout year about his progress.
Tyson’s Honey Bees
I’ve always been fascinated with honey bees and bee keeping. When I moved to the Washington, D.C. metro area I found the DC Beekeepers club I knew I had to join it. It wasn’t long before I was enrolled in one of their eight-week courses on beginning beekeeping. Although anyone can learn to keep bees few people realize the labor required not just to produce a honey crop but simply to keep you bees alive from one year to the next.
As I continued in my course I learned from expert Virginia beekeepers. We covered everything from where to purchase our first bees, what kind of home to get them, where to set them up. We also learned that we would most definitely get stung, that we most likely would not harvest honey for over a year and that our first set of bees would most likely die. This may sound daunting to some but to me it was exciting. It was a great challenge, a wonderful opportunity to participate in nature and be an urban farmer.
I ended up setting up two colonies in April 2015. It was fascinating to see them take and empty box and transform it with precision made honeycomb, fill it with baby bees, pollen and of course, honey. Each colony started out with one box but by August each colony had almost filled up five boxes each stacking up to about chest height.
It was an exciting and stressful spring and summer as I toiled over my bees however I was about to face some of by greatest challenges. Come August there was very little for the bees to eat. It stopped raining, the flowers stopped blooming. Everything they had stored up then became their primary source of sustenance. Before I know it most of the honey and pollen they had saved was gone. This was not good because the bees only had a few months until there would be no food at all for them to forage on. I started feeding them sugar water to supplement their natural food. As we entered into fall the bees reduced their population to prepare for winter. Bees do not hibernate. They remain active, eating their stores and use their body heat to stay alive and cluster until the spring. My bees were reducing their numbers so there would be more honey go during the winter.
As this happened I learned my last beekeeping lesson of the year. Bees face a myriad of diseases and parasites. An epidemic of varroa mites has taken most of the world by storm. These mites are something like a tick that feeds on bees. As my bee population declined the by bees to mite ratio peaked. My 10 boxes of bees dwindled and by mid-November all of the bees died. This sad occurrence is a common theme amongst new beekeepers. Although saddened at my loss I’ve learned so much about these wonderful insects. Next year I will be more prepared to help them overcome some of their aforementioned challenges.
I’m excited to continue learning more and helping these wonderful creatures as they help keep our planet beautiful and fruitful. Although I have lost my first set of bees all of their work is not in vain. It takes a lot of energy to create wax. Next year’s bees will be able to inhabit a home that has already been created. They will come and make it their own, immediately start laying their brood, filling the combs with their own honey and pollen. Next year’s bees will have a head start, a more experienced beekeeper and a better chance at surviving and hopefully reproduce many other generations of bees.
If you’d like to donate towards sponsoring a honeybee colony, click here. Thanks for reading!