8 Year Old Beekeeper in Weathersfield Vt-Sydney's Bees #weathersfieldVT #VT #beekeeper #vtbees

"I just love bees" Meet Sydney Main, an eight year old beekeeper in Weathersfield Vt. Sydney and her family live at Green Root Farm with their dogs, chickens, ducks, turtles and now bees, lots of bees.

"It was supposed to be an ant farm" said Ron Main, Sydney's Dad and teacher (Sydney is home schooled by both her mother and her father.) Part of their Oak Meadow Curriculum required an ant farm but Sydney's love for bees turn the project into bee keeping. The family now has three hives (including an indoor observation hive) with plans for more hives in the future (may be up to seven hives!) They have even posted a caution sign at the beginning of their driveway-Caution Honey Bees-like warning people about dogs but bees.

Dad-Ron built very creative hives (not your usually boxes you see on most farms) and the beekeeping began. The oldest know record of bee keeping dates back to a primitive painting from 15,000 BC. It is believed that in 800-900 AD honey bees were first brought to America by the Irish and Norwegian explorers , pre-Columbus.

"I talk to bees, they'll tell me where the queen is in the hive" says Sydney. During the Spring, a queen can lay about 1,500 eggs in a twenty-four hour period. The queen will stick her head into a cell and if it's empty she'll turn and put her abdomen in the cell and deposit an egg. She typically lays these eggs in the central part of the frame. The outer portions of the frame are filled with pollen and then honey is deposited in the outer portions.

Hive life is a division of labor. The queen lays the eggs, the workers do all the work and the drones serve to fertilize the virgin queen. "They're pretty lazy" Sydney says about the drones.

Sydney can tell you the entire life cycle of the bee and also how hives get split and how bees survive the winter.  A few weeks ago the Mains bought about 10,000 bees (a three pound package.) To create a home for these bees, you need a brood chamber super with four frames in the middle and a frame feeder with sugar water.

The hive entrance is the portal through which the friends and enemies can enter. Guard bees are vigilant to make sure only hive bees can enter. They determine this by smell. "The only thing that really tries to get into the hives are wasps. When we had that first hive, wasps were trying to get in but then we put this thing (at the portal) that has holes in it that only the bees can fit through" Sydney told me as we were taking photos of the hives.

One of the hives has been moved inside for observation. When bees of a colony are moved from their old location to a new place will mark the location of the new hive on their first flight. As they fly out they will apparently take a survey of all the surroundings adjoining their home. 

Sydney and her family are looking forward to harvesting the honey. "I love honey, I eat it by the spoonful" says Sydney and soon she'll have pounds of the sweet stuff at her disposal.

The family is involved with the Vermont Beekeepers Association, mom Amy Beth plans to attend the Summer Meeting in Hartland Vt at Damon Hall On July 9.

More photos of Sydney and her bees: https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/Weathersfield-VT/Green-Root-Farm/Sydneys-Bees/

For more on this story check the Vermont Standard on newsstands Thursday June 16 and online now.

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