Yep, bees! We did it! We took the plunge. I think we threw ourselves into it being semily ready, but yet not super ready.
This all started with my husband sending me a craigslist post of some used equipment and saying hey this is a good deal. So of course, we set up a meeting and went and checked out the equipment. The equipment was in decent shape, and the guy was just “getting out of the bee business” because he didn’t have time any more. This is always a good way to get cheap equipment IF you know that the hives were not infested with anything (varroa, colony collapse for any reason, and any other infectious type problems).
After finding our equipment we were quickly in the scramble to find bees, because apparently you order bees around December or January if you want a box of bees, verses nukes (which are a partially established colony) which are available a lot later in the spring. Luckily, my friend’s boss (our now bee mentor) is a beekeeper and had extra bees ordered since a lot of their colonies survived the winter. So now we had hives, and bees, and had to get some extra equipment.
We found out what equipment we would need by meeting with the bee mentors and learned things from certain signs from the bees (ex. if they are bearding on the box-add a new box for the hive, they need more room), watch for pests by checking any dead bees that may be placed outside by the hive (who do clean up very nicely…much more than I clean my home 😉 ), how to feed them when there are no nectar sources when we first begin, etc. etc.
I went and purchased our hive tool, veils and gloves, smoker, and our bee brush. Tim got a blueprint for a feeder to build and made those, I made the sugar water (since we didn’t have any raw honey to feed back to them), and we waited for bee arrival day.
The bees came and putting them into the hives was quite the production. The queen comes in a little box. You have to replace her cork with an edible marshmallow (without her flying away or you can kiss your money goodbye). Then you place her in hive in her box and dump the rest of the bees down into the hive. Yes I said dump…see the pics for all that excitement
Yep so that is all we had to do and walah we have two hives established! The bees fly into their hives if they miss the box, because they can smell their queen and head to be with her!