The Foragers had a packed January meeting. We started with our normal business meeting. Our member, Ellie, gave her educational program on the queen bee. We learned that:
- You can identify the queen by her long abdomen and faint stripes when compared to the worker bees. Beekeepers use five different colors to mark the queen to make her easier to find in a hive.
- If doing a hive inspection, you will mostly likely find the queen on a brood frame. But, she could have been driven to a non-brood frame by the smoke, so it’s important to use the least amount of smoke as necessary and to look for her on other frames as well.
- The worker bee and queen bee both come from fertilized eggs (the boy bees, the drones, come from unfertilized eggs), but it is her lifetime diet of royal jelly that makes her a queen, while worker bee larvae are eventually switched to a diet of bee bread.
After our business meeting, we had Part One of our Entrepreneur Program. As homework from the last meeting, our members were to research items you can buy that have hive products as ingredients and then to bring in a recipe to make one of the items. Our Foragers took their homework seriously and we had several recipes from which to choose to make in Part Two of our Entrepreneur Program. We had suggestions for a sandwich wraps (beeswax and propolis), face scrub (honey), lip balm (beeswax and honey), face mask (honey, pollen, and propolis tincture), soap (honey), puppy paw wax balm (beeswax), and body cream (beeswax).
The hardest part of this was picking which three items to choose out of the wonderful ideas our Foragers brought. We first decided on the sandwich wraps since they are a unique item and fit well with helping keep a healthy environment for our pollinators. While choosing the other items to make, the Foragers learned that there are lots of different things to consider when making the decision on what to choose. We considered shelf life – we couldn’t make the face scrub or face mask because these required refrigeration. They also had to take in consideration what ingredients we are going to buy for the projects and those that had similar ingredients would be better so there were less ingredients to buy. Another consideration the Foragers had to make was what type of containers they want to use for their products. Would they use lip balm tubes (plastic and not sustainable) or glass jars (recyclable glass, but maybe not appealing to those concerned with germs). The Foragers also thought about how the product might appeal to the buyer. For example, the group chose to make the puppy paw wax since it can also be used as a hand balm and would appeal to more buyers. The members also picked the lip balm to make as well and if we have time, to make the body cream. So now that we’ve picked what to make, our next step is to make them!