The bees will arrive this week! Or rather, we'll go pick them up.
I've been reading absolutely everything I can find about beekeeping, and watching YouTube videos whenever we are somewhere with good internet, since our internet at home isn't very good.
Hubby mowed the meadow that is now called the Bee Yard. There were some small saplings but the brush hog took care of those. The young osage orange trees had thorns that were two inches long and extremely sharp. We also grubbed out some small cacti. All in all, that meadow was a pretty spike-y place, and I think that the bees should be the only sharp things in the Bee Yard.
We painted the beehive using a quart of mis-tinted paint, which is often available at a much lower price. It's kind of a dijon mustard color; I can see why someone didn't want it after all, but the bees really don't care what color their house is. I couldn't help adding something cute. I should have bought a stencil brush, but the openings were awfully small anyway and I resorted to a Sharpie and a tiny paintbrush in the end.
We've put up a fence around the hive site. We don't run livestock in that spot, but the horses have been known to escape and they like the bermuda grass in that meadow. While cows will just move on if they're stung, horses will knock over a beehive and lick up every drop of honey, and I'd like to avoid that.
The instructor at the class I took in January (I'm getting my bees from him) recommended starting with two hives, and most of what I've read in books and online say the same thing. Frankly, I can't afford two hives this year - neither the physical hive nor a second package of bees, and definitely not both - so I am praying that I'll be okay with just one and can split the hive next spring. I've quickly learned that beekeeping is an expensive hobby.
My neighbor is picking up two hives from the same source, so if either of us runs into trouble we can help each other out. Our instructor mentors all who take his classes or buy bees from him, too.
Later this week we'll drive two hours to pick up my package of 10,000 bees. That sounds like a lot of bees, doesn't it? But really it's just enough to start a new hive, which will eventually, I hope, number 60,000 or more.
I'm both excited and terrified. It will be a case of baptism by fire as I install the bees in their new hive.
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