Its about high-time I make that first entry into my little book of bees. When I introduce people to the idea that I am a soon to be Beekeeper I am met with mixed reactions. I am already known I feel as a man with peculiar interests, so let me start out by explaining what it is that has driven me to become interested in bees.
Back when I was a little one, I spent much of my time outside. When I consider what I did as a child it is always with the memory of playing out in the yard with whatever toy was my favorite at the time. One thing I strongly associate with this childhood of mine are the little critters of the earth that I would see during my adventures. My first encounter with a bee was just as traumatic as anyone might guess, and I quickly learned after that to always observe them with a quiet reverence.
I try and pinpoint the exact time when I decided I wanted to deal with bees… The closest I can come to is the Utah State Fare a few years back. When we came upon the Utah Beekeepers Association and their booth, they had quit a bit of information about bees, and the current state of trouble they seem to be in right now. I am not an expert on things like colony collapse disorder, nor do I plan to be anytime soon… But something about the plight of the bee struck a cord in me. I feel in a lot of ways that it is my duty to step up to the plate and do what I can to learn more about these creatures before they become scarce.
Last June I caught the “Bug” pretty hard. I wanted bees and I wanted them right then and there. I looked and found that yeah, I could get some bees, but they would most likely fail. I began to research and found that the best time for bees is early may. I began to collect books and browse websites about bees. I began to talk to my mother in law who’s father deals with bees quite often. I even had a few chats with him about bees!
In January I ordered my first two hives, along with the starter package of bees for each of them. People often ask how many bees I will be getting to start with, and where I get them from. The answer is, I am getting 6 pounds of bees, and I am getting them in two separate boxes! Yes, you read that correctly.. They sell bees by the pound!
On the 31st of March I was able to go and pick up my beehives. I am using the Langstroth method of keeping bees, so I have 6 pine boxes that are stack-able. Each box comes with 10 frames, and each frame is double sided.
A Langstroth frame with plastic foundation (The Bees will build comb on top of the foundation)
I decided to paint my hives the other day. I chose a light purple color for one box, and a light yellow for the other. The purple color has failed to show through due to the color of the pine, but the distinction between the hives as well as protecting my investment with a solid coat of paint is what is most important. While painting my hives I learned a valuable piece of information…. Paint is an amazing glue! I had to spend about 5 minutes extra trying to separate my hives once they were dry
Now, being an excitable guy I tend to forgive minor issues with products when I purchase them. I wanted to take a minute to critique the place where I purchased my hives from. I was talked into registering for a class with the company who sold the hives to me on the pretense that I would be guaranteed my bees this year. Not wanting to miss out, I decided to dive right in. The class was full of valuable information. One of the first conversations that took place upon entering the class was to NEVER purchase used bee equipment, as there is a chance that there may be residual disease contained within the hive or other utilities. This seemed like sound advice to me as I have heard similar things said by aquarium enthusiasts about purchasing used aquarium goods. When I picked up my hives a few weeks back I got them home and did my own little inspection. As I pulled open the hives, I noticed a faint scent of beeswax, as well as traces of beeswax and propolis (A substance that bees secrete) on the inside of the hive as well as upon several of the frames. Long story short… Don’t tell me to only buy new equipment… charge me for new equipment price.. and then sell me used equipment. Thats bad business!
I will be getting the actual bees for my hive at the end of the month. I hope to get a video up for you to all see me putting my bees into their first home, and maybe even of me getting my first few stings!
I will leave off here with some photos of my beehives. Look for another post in early June!
Couldn't resist putting a picture of Nimbus in here, who has most likely been wondering what the giant boxes outside of the window are.