"It was the oldest sound in the world. Souls flying away." The Secret Life of Bees

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Beekeeping Adventures: Getting Started

My love of bees has lead me to a new adventure - beekeeping!  I could not be more excited.  I have been preparing for the last couple of months and my first package of bees will be here on Monday.  Ben and I like to joke that we are turning our back yard into a farm:)  With 3 dogs, 3 chickens, and now a colony of bees on their way, it certainly feels a little bit like a farm.  I love it, of course!  

I took a beginning beekeeping class at Ruhl Bee supply last month and I am going to be taking another class, focusing on organic beekeeping, next week.  I've also been reading and researching like crazy.  Ben got me  The Beekeeper's Bible last year and it has been extremely helpful.

I bought the hive a few weeks ago and Ben helped me assemble it.  It was fairly easy to put together.  I went with a basic langstroth hive with a fancy copper "English garden cover".    

This is how Zander helped.  Seriously, how did he sleep like this?  Crazy pup:)

Picked out the paint.....

Here it is, ready to go!

Some of my supplies - I tried the veil on just for fun last weekend!  I think I frightened Ben just a little bit:)

Wish me luck on Monday!  I ordered 1 package of Italian bees, which includes the queen and about 10,000 workers.  That should be enough to get things started and by mid-summer, we should be up to 50,000 - 60,000 bees.  Transferring the bees into their new home can be a little bit tricky.  The queen comes in her own tiny box inside of the bigger box, which contains the workers.  This keeps her safe while the workers get used to her pheromones.  Once they are all transferred to the hive, she has to stay in her tiny box for another couple of days, then she should be able to be released and (hopefully) accepted as queen.  I'm just hoping for minimal stings.

ps - for a good look at my honey comb mandala/honey bee tattoo, check out this post from a couple of years ago about my body art.