A BEEKEEPER LEGACY
Beekeeping is an art form that needs to be practiced with a balance of skills, confidence and elegance of movement to preserve the balance between nature and human touch. Take a sneak peek inside the life of a beekeeper family
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Bianca Ackermann
?? April 2020
When I was younger, my grandma used to take me and my sister to the village where her mother lived. Her house was situated on a small hill, overlooking the street and the rest of the front yards of the buildings across. The house was just about big enough for all of us to be able to spend time as a family, but the back yard was where my sister and I used to spend most of our time during the summer.
There, on top of another, slightly taller hill, was where my grandmother’s sister lived. Her house was bigger, and you had to push past an iron porch to make your way to the front yard. There was a garden on the left with some tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. To the right, there were beehives. Sometimes I helped picking the ripe fruits and vegetables for the grandmas to make a salad for lunch and later on, when we had finished our meal, we would wash some grapes for everyone to have for dessert. Each time we went to any city’s fruit and veg market we would buy grapes, but nothing could compare. Never in my life had I tried sweeter, juicier grape than the one that grew in the front yard of my grandma’s sister’s house. It was all because of the bees. They were flying around, pollinating the flowers, fruits and vegetables. Each morning you could hear them buzzing, getting to work and not stopping until late afternoon.
They were a family of beekeepers. I remember watching as a kid as my grandma and her husband would put on the protective beekeeper overall suit and finish it off with the veiled helmet. They reminded me of astronauts getting ready for their mission. In many ways, that was true. Beekeeping is an art combined with science and skill. You need to be precise, aware and careful when you’re approaching a beehive. It is important to move in unison with the hive, so you won’t disturb the work of the bees.
Each time my grandma and granddad approached the beehives and got to work they became one with nature. Watching them work was like observing a very detailed dance and it was pure magic. Much like that, the honey they extracted from the houses of the bees tasted like liquid magic. I still remember the taste of beeswax – it was one of the most delicious and unique food I’ve tasted in my lifetime.
Beekeeping is a tradition that is usually passed on from a generation to generation. There is so much practice, attention and passion that is put into sustaining a beehive. Beekeepers usually pass on their knowledge to their kids because when seeing beekeepers in their element, it is easy to understand that this is a gift that needs to be treasured.
Nowadays, the number of bees, including honeybees and bumblebees is declining. This is mostly due to loss of habitat and an increasement of pesticides. Typically, insects are going extinct eight times faster than mammals, reptiles and birds. We need more beekeepers practicing this elegant craft.
There are regions around the world where 90% of the bees have disappeared.
Bees beat their wings 200 times per second and can fly with the speed of around 25km per hour.
To make one pound of honey, a bee travels 90,000 miles, which is an equivalent of going three times around the globe.
There are 20,000-60,000 honey bees and one queen bee in a colony.
During a collection trip a honeybee pays a visit to 50 - 100 flowers.