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April 17, 2017

Picking Up the Bees


It's time to pick up the bees!

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.

Painting the beehive before we get the bees.

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.

Bee stencils on the hive body.

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.

A bee gathering pollen from wild roses.

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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This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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16 comments:

  1. I saw your post on the Hearth and Soul. We are city dwellers so to me this is fascinating!

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by, Leslie! I know a lot of city dwellers who have bees. :-)

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  2. I love your little bees on your boxes! Super cute design. I am sure you will love having them as an addition to your place.

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    1. Thank you, Dana. :-)

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  3. This sounds exciting and so interesting. It is great that you have a mentor to guide you.

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    1. It is! I've really enjoyed what I've learned so far and don't even have my bees yet.

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  4. Love your paintings on the hive! Good luck with exciting project. Found your post at Tuesdays with a Twist.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. I'm so glad you hopped over for a visit.

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  5. That paint color reminds me of honey, so it seems appropriate. I wish you luck on your new venture. My husband is allergic to bees, so that's one thing we don't plan to try. I'd love to have the honey, though!

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    1. I didn't think about the paint color being reminiscent of honey; thank you for pointing that out. That's how I'll look at it from now on. :-) Thank you for the well wishes!

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  6. We have had our 2 hives for a year now. Hoping to expand soon. Good luck!
    :) gwingal

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    1. Nikki, I love hearing about successes! Thank you for visiting, and I hope you're able to expand those hives soon.

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  7. Yay congrats! I'm so excited for you and can't wait to read about your adventures. The couple that teaches the gardening and chicken classes we took also have a bee class that I'm curious about. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

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    1. You should take the class just to learn. :-) Then you can make the decision afterwards. I'm such an enabler. LOL

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  8. Oh, how exciting, Kathi! I'm not sure if I'd be brave enough to keep bees, but I am sure it will be an amazing experience for you. How wonderful to have your own fresh honey! Sharing on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page. Thank you so much for being a part of Hearth and Soul.

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    1. You might be surprised, April. I wasn't sure I was brave enough either. :-) Thank you so much for sharing this post.

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