Biology teacher adds bees to her list of farm animals

By: Cam Grubic

Early last year, science teacher Debbie Paulsen added another branch to her agricultural background of sheep, pigs and horses: the world of beekeeping. She had help from a friend and Cedar Falls local, Kirk Richardson.

“We had both been thinking about the idea of bees,” Paulsen said, “but we couldn’t find a source of bees.”

One day, Richardson decided that he and Paulsen both were finally going to purchase their hives and bees. He had found out about a place called Brushy Mtn. Bee Farm, which sells kits to put together hives.

As this was Richardson and Paulsen’s first attempt at beekeeping, Paulsen said her year went well, but she encountered a few nerve wracking moments. “We lost our queen when we cut a rubber band, and it flew off. We thought we lost her but couldn’t tell.”

Paulsen’s hive then created its own queen. She explained that without a queen present, the bees in the hive begin trying to raise queen cells. They will create several, hoping to get at least one out of the process. The bees in the hive work and produce for the queen, and when the harvest is ready, Paulsen will remove the frames and drain and filter the honey into her containers and have it ready for use.

Paulsen harvested probably five jars for a total of two quarts. Her goal is to get at least as much honey as she did last year, but she is really focussed on her bees surviving the winter.

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