YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) – First light, a little warm weather and after a soaking rain, the worker bees in the enclosures at the Mollie Spencer Farm area already heading out before 8 a.m. on a Saturday.
Farm Manager, John Leonard oversees operations on this unique property, first settled in 1894 and still intact on 37 acres.
As the bees take flight, Leonard says they can travel up to 5 miles to find pollen and nectar.
“They definitely know how to find stuff,” Leonard explains. “A lot of people think, in order to have bees, they have to plant a big patch of clover in their lawn.”
Right now, when Oklahoma is blooming, is their busiest time.
“They’re doing very well right now.”
Get John or his beekeeping friend Susan Turner going on the subject of bee keeping and they both worry about droning on too much.
“Are you a bee nerd?” jokes his farm guest.
“I’m a bee nerd,” affirms Leonard with a laugh. “100 percent.”
But on this weekend, they brought out a lot of other interested, would-‘bee’ keepers who wanted to know the ins and outs of ordering hives, what pests to watch out for, and whether to buy a cotton or ventilated bee suit.
John says there’s an obvious choice for Oklahoma summers.
“Just go to ventilated,” he tells his audience. “There’s no question. No reason to ponder or consider.”
Emma Newberry Davis is Program Manager at the Mollie Spencer Farm where owners and planners are trying to make this urban oasis a welcoming spot for all kinds of animals and naturalists alike.
Describing the still bucolic atmosphere, she says, “I think when people enter here they feel transported. You would have no idea you were still in the middle of the city.”
Leonard and Turner advise first-time bee keepers not to expect too much in the first year of operating a hive.
It’s not a good idea, they say, to steal too much of the honey that keeps them nourished through a winter.
But if there is extra, bees provide a special treat, something leftover, a drop of the natural environment saved, just like a cool, green spot on the prairie, extra sweet.
Find more information on the Mollie Spencer Farm website.
For more information on bee keeping in Oklahoma, go to the Central Oklahoma Beekeepers Association website.
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