Many of you may have heard me commenting that though I love Brushy Mountain Bee equipment I don’t like the expense of having it shipped. Well now is the time to buy. Free shipping on Black Friday. I don’t get any benefit from passing this on, I just think it is important to tout good quality and I think their western nucs are the best on the market:
I think I might have the Lays Potato chip syndrome when it comes to bees. I started out with two hives, after all, that is what all the books say to do. This way you can compare one to the other and get a better understanding of bees and how they live. That was in class #1. It is only in class #6 do you learn about swarming.
Swarming is a colonies natural instinct to ensure survival of the colony and despite man’s best efforts you will usually have a swarm in at least some of your hives. So, this means I should probably have a couple of hive bodies and some frames set aside just in case I come home from work one day to a buzzing mass of beemanity in my yard (read more likely my neighbors yard) and have some plan in place to deal. It is a natural extension that if I have to add a hive I’m going to need someplace to keep it….so here is a list of what I did and how I set up two more foundations. This is very similar to setting up my original two but these are a little bigger. You can read that post by clicking here.
The reason these foundations are bigger is because I’ve decided to go with 8 frame westerns as I expand my apiary. I purchased a nuc from brushy mountain and 5 unassembled western 8 frame boxes from Mann Lake. I think this will allow maximum flexibility with dealing with a swarm and swapping frames from hive to hive if I need to. To accomodate the larger hives here is my parts list for two foundations:
4 16x16x2 cement pavers
8 8X16X6 concret blocks
Left over bag of sand from my first two foundations
I like to use the 16×16 pavers because they are easier to level, then put the concret blocks on top to give me a little height and to allow me to run a web strap over the hive and through the concret blocks. This will add some stability in the winter time when the winds pick up.
So this year I may end up with 3 or 4 hives….what happens next year if say 2 or 3 of the hives swarm….there you go….you can’t eat just one 🙂
FINALLY…..it seemed a long wait for the bees to arrive. I started reading, studying and researching everything about bees since October or so and now I’m finally a “beekeeper”. I can tell you first hand, despite all the research and discussion, nothing prepares you for the first time you unleash 10,000 bees into an open hive. Even with the bee suite on I kept thinking…..what if they turn on me????
Well, of course they didn’t. They are every bit as gentle as you treat them. I did get stung twice but both were my fault. One girl stung me because she got trapped under the wrist band of my watch (lesson..don’t wear that again) and the second bit me because I was not looking at what I was grabbing. I turned to pick up the top of the hive, grabbed it without looking and got stung for my carlessness.
This video is the installation of the first package into a new Warre hive. These are Italians. I also purchased a package of Carniolans which I installed the next day. I’ll post that video in the next week or so.
They have both settled nicely into their new homes and are drinking lots of sugar water as it is still pretty rainy.
Please feel free to comment below and link back if you have a website about bees that you have found interesting.
With the weather beeeing so nice I’m hoping that this will mean we will indeed get our bees as scheduled, the first Saturday in April. My guess is that it has to do more with what is happening in California which is where the bee packages are coming from.
As promised in my last post here are some pictures showing how I placed the hives and how they turned out. If you ask 10 different beekeepers how to build a base you will come up with 10 different answers. Right or wrong here is how I did it for my first time.
These hives have the entrances facing south and are in full sun most of the day.
I have screened baseboards….if I didn’t I might want to have the hive lean a little toward the hive entrance so that condensation would have an easy way out of the hive.