There are those who are just naturally predisposed towards animals, taking to all manner of creatures for any number of reasons—from companionship to simple compassion. For Bulgarian native Miriana Andreeva, who now calls Dallas, Texas her home, “animal lover” as well as “nature lover” could not describe her any better. When she is not working for Christopher Peacock Homes, Andreeva runs her own garden in her backyard—consisting of peonies, stevia, salvia, herbs, roses, holly, and much more—and she often has her chocolate Labrador puppy following her closely. This, however, was not enough for her as a lover of both animals and nature, so Andreeva decided to expand her horizons with a honeybee hive and renewed interested in beekeeping.
From Chickens to Bees
The original hope for Andreeva’s curiosities was to raise chickens in her backyard. However, she and fiancé Nils Benson had to compromise on the issue. “The joke is that I wanted chickens—and I still want chickens—but he wouldn’t let me have them. So, we could agree on bees.” It may seem like a leap for some, but Andreeva actually grew up around beekeepers in Bulgaria. So, understanding the time and dedication that goes into this practice, even just as a hobby, Andreeva researched anything she could find from blogs to local beekeeping classes. Benson’s father, and Andreeva’s future father-in-law, even constructed a hive for them.
When the pair started, per Andreeva, “It was a rainy spring, so we went the whole year without harvesting anything. We made the choice to let them establish.” Once harvesting season came around, they gathered 45 pounds of honey from just one hive. Andreeva prefers to leave the honey on the comb unfiltered, which means the pollen and wax cells remain within the honey upon collection. This produces a darker honey with a chewier consistency, which is how Andreeva remembers it from back in Bulgaria.
“There is a whole realm of things you become aware of when you keep bees and the seasonality of it—it makes you more in tune with what’s going on,” Andreeva said. While she opens the hive only around every two months to check her bees, Andreeva is constantly monitoring weather conditions, blooming plants, humidity, and her bees’ “traffic patterns.”
A Rewarding Experience
Andreeva has had her honeybees for about three years now, and in that time, she even lost one of the original pair of hives she had after those bees grew to be aggressive. After giving them to a beekeeper with more land to “requeen” them, Andreeva admitted she had been disappointed, but that it is all part of the process. “It’s extremely rewarding…It’s calming, but it’s also very intense and exciting.”
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