A long-time goal of mine was to keep my own bees, and I finally started in early April of this year. The venture has been fairly successful so far (fingers crossed), and I was encouraged to share the adventure with our Simmer and Boil readers. After all, bees make honey, and Cooking Light staff and readers both love honey.

I hope to take some honey from the hive this year, but surprisingly, the bees are not making the honey for me (shocker). I never really thought about it, but the bees need to eat something when the flowers are not blooming. Because of that, I have to leave enough for them to eat over the winter, or they will run out of food before spring comes. To give you an idea, I’ll need to leave at least four delicious, sticky, flavorful, rich, divine gallons of honey for Joyce (the name we have given to our queen) and the rest of the bees to eat during the winter... I can estimate how much honey the bees have made, and anything over what they need will be shared with Cooking Light staff and turned into yummy gifts for friends and family.

The hive probably has about 20,000 bees, and I am yet to be stung! Given that I just wrote this, I will probably be stung the next time I inspect the hive. It is a very surreal moment when you take a step back and realize thousands of bees are buzzing all around you. Your heart definitely beats a little faster when you realize what you have embarked on. Despite the seemingly inherent danger, beekeeping is surprisingly safe, given you are not allergic to bee stings.

Are any of our readers beekeepers, or do you have neighbors with beehives?