This past Saturday, a group of intrepid LDI Beekeepers visited Honey Hive Farms in Peoria and experienced the basics of how a hive is formed and organized. A couple of students had some reluctance and fears, as they had had adverse experiences with getting stung when they were younger, but were willing to set those feelings and doubts heading into the activity. An important component of the LDI program experience is to create activities that are life stretching and designed to safely blow up pre-conceived student comfort zones as a step towards learning how to take risks that lead to personal growth and development.

The owner did a great job of educating our group and other hobbyist beekeepers with how colonies are formed, who does what in the hive, and how to recognize the stages of a bee’s life and hive activity to generate food, shelter, and 3,000 new bee eggs per day.

We were then taken to the back of the property where the hives were, and immediately had a front-row seat from less than 3 feet away, as we learned how to pull the panel out of the hive, identify the differences between worker bees, drones, and the elusive Queen.

Expanding Comfort Zones

It was pretty cool to see how the pollen is collected/tucked by the worker bee on its back legs, brought into the hive to produce wax/honey and the general activity that goes on non-stop during the worker bee’s 45-day life cycle. Each of the students pulled panels, examined them to locate drones, differentiate between honey and pollen, and see capped cells hatch new bees- all without as much as one sting on any of us!

One student’s comment stands out, as he shared that “ when I started the activity, my personal confidence was less than a 3, and when I was done it was an 8.” This is one of the great aspects of our program and how expanding comfort zones and world views of our students helps them to grow beyond the familiar and create the belief that if they can do something they usually fear and come out of it alright. This creates a spark in their minds that encourages them to see what else they can do to continue to push those boundaries and keep expanding comfort zones and their limitations!