I feel like a little school girl all squermy and excited. I would scream but find that highly annoying. Bees! They are finally here. They came from a guy up north that gets his shipment of bees from Texas. He said this is the nicest bunch of bees he's had in a long time. Pumped. If you haven't had an introduction to bees, read one of my first blogs called honeybees. They are so fascinating! Amazing little buggers.
The honey bee (or honeybee) is so important to the 'circle of life.' They pollinate all the plants. Without them, there would be massive death, plants and animals. In fact, they are on decline and backyard beekeeping has become more popular. And YES, if you live in the city, you too can have them :) They are very docile creatures. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets give them a bad reputation. But these guys simply want to do one thing, produce honey (and of course keep the queen happy). My fascination with bees has grown significantly since my self-reliant living plans have blossomed at my developing homestead. And we LOVE our honey and there is nothing better than the honey you make, so I am told. I have read and learned from other bee keepers that the most sought after honey is basswood honey. I'm in luck! I have several on my property :) I also have large gardens that will be thankful and produce larger, healthier fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
So, in order to get ready for their arrival I needed a water source, sugar water, pollen patty, bee suit, smoker, smoker pellets, hive tool, & bee brush,. For more about the pricing on the bees/needed items go to the finance page and click the bees excel sheet.
Providing a good water source for bees is critical to their success in cooling the hive, reproduction, and making honey. It's also important not to leave open water that they can easily drown in. This is what I came up with:
Drill holes in along the rim of the bucket. This is to allow water/rain water to pour out.
Cut up pieces of Styrofoam. These are little landing pads for the bees. By drilling the holes around the bucket at the top, the water will drain off before allowing the foam landing pads to wash out.
Floating Styrofoam ready for bees to drink. Place this within 20 feet from the hive.
Bees this time of year also need sugar water. Their honey supply isn't high so supplementing their source is important. They also need a pollen patty (a sugary patty with pollen mixed in) because again, this time of year there's not much pollen out there.
So now, we are ready for the bees. Once they arrived, I removed the starter boxes and placed them on stacked pallets. I liked the idea of placing them on pallets because the wood will turn to match the surroundings, unlike cinder blocks, and they make it easy to place them on while creating the ventilation needed underneath. After I got them set up, you take the plug in the front off, and replace with a reducer to slowly allow the bees to come out and explore. You don't want them to swarm and leave right away. After a couple days the reducer can be taken off.
These bees are very healthy and have filled the starter hive with honey, so I need to put a second box deep on it tomorrow. And will need a third box in mid June. I will keep you informed on the updates when I add the third box and how to.
I am having two colonies (separate hives) and they will produce about 80lbs of honey each. Holy, yum! Though, I wish I can consume that much, I have decided to share my local honey at the Farmer's Markets I attend. It's also noteworthy that honey NEVER goes bad. Honey was found with King Tut and still edible!
As for now, the 'newbees' (pun intended) are getting cozy at their new residence and I can't wait to see them tomorrow.
Who Writes This Blog
It's me, Meg. Checkout 'My Story' for more about my mission.