Monday, March 18, 2013

Bees...the beginning

I can tell I fell of the blogging bandwagon in a big way when we started a whole new urban homesteading project and I never blogged about it! I know I mentioned it once or twice (and some of you have been patiently waiting for an update - you've told me!).  It's amazing that some of these photos are from more than a year ago now.  Without further preface and delay: getting into bees!

To start with, we took a day-long beekeeping course, asked tons of questions of everyone we knew who ever had anything to do with bees, and we got some books. The number one thing we learned (which has been backed up by other beekeepers since): PERSONAL PREFERENCE!  That is, you'll hear a dozen or more different ways to do any single task with bees (how to feed, care for, medicate, etc) and it's really up to personal preference. Actually, the way Sue Hubbell explains it in A Book of Bees, this is because climate and bee habitat vary from area to area and something that works in one place may not work in another. So really you have to get to know your own bees and your own bee habitat. Don't worry, I get the feeling they'll teach you.

Jeremy was really the instigator of this project.  He begged family for gifts of all the beekeeping stuff we'd need, and over the space of about a year he got it!  Last Christmas he got boxes of bee frames to put together.  Yep, DIY!  And there is a lot of little fussy stuff to do when putting these things together.

First he built all the boxes.

He drilled some holes in the fronts to allow for bees to come and go and for extra ventilation. We got little corks to fit in these holes so we could block them up when needed.

Then he primed and painted all of them. Painting is important because the hives sit outside, of course, and the paint will help keep the wood from rotting away.

Then Jeremy built all of the frames. I think these were the most nit-picky of all.

After they're put together you slide the wax foundations in each one, then secure them.

And then start loading them up in the boxes.

Here's all our bee stuff ready to go: bee hive all painted and full of frames, with the base thing down there at the bottom; the smoker; a bee veil; and a hive tool.

This was all done by the beginning of March and our bees were set to come in mid-April. But I was gone when they got here!

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