What is this about honeybees? I have always been interested in attempting to raising honeybees. The honey is great, but I also wanted to reap their benefits in my little garden. Now that we have the worms to provide all natural fertilizer, I thought why not add a hive to help increase the pollination! If you are an avid gardener, you can get a hive setup too. If I can do it, anyone can. It helps boost your garden’s harvest and you don’t need a lot of space!
Unfortunately, I started a little too late in the season to build up a strong colony so it would be healthy enough to survive the winter. They have less of a chance of surviving without a hearty supply of honey. I would have never known this without the help of Mike Childer’s. Who is this guy? He is a local beekeeper who is helping me get started with the beekeeping. Luckily he stopped me from purchasing the bees and hive. They would have only had a 50% chance of survival.
Mike owns and operates Mike’s honeybees in Raleigh, NC. He provides quality products and services! Mike and his wife have been enjoying honeybees since 2005. Their bees are pesticide-free and come from farms that use naturally grown methods. Mikes Honeybees is a member of both the Wake and NC State Beekeepers Assoc. Also he is a Journeyman Beekeeper in the NC Master Beekeepers Program.
Anyhow, Mike got me a high-quality beginner’s beekeeping kit. I chose to order it unassembled… figure it would be fun to put together and get more intimate knowledge of the hive that way. But you can order them already assembled and even painted for slightly more. Below is a photo of what the wooden components look like when they arrive.
Here is the bees wax used in the frames:
And finally, I have the outer part of the hive nailed on glued.
I will keep posting pictures as I go. I hope to be done and have it painted in the next month or so…. Then in the early spring my bees will arrive. I am excited!
3/17/2012 The bees have arrived! So the hive is painted and ready to go for their new occupants. Here are a few photos from the day we picked-up the bees:
On delivery day, I was a little nervous about deploying the bees to the hive. I setup the empty hive in a nice sunny location near the pond. The kids watched from afar…amazed at my new get-up. I got started quickly and made my first mistake… I forgot to light the smoker. Not too smart…
I did not have any gloves on because some beekeepers advise against them. They decrease your dexterity and can cause you to crush bees and bang things around (this increases chances of getting stung). So gloveless and nervous I set out to install queen. Somewhere along the way, as I was prying a staple out, it popped pretty forcefully. I think this freaked the bees out…and one of them decided to sting me. At this point, I retreated and got the smoker. Armed with the smoker, things went smoothly, I was able to reach into the box and grab the queen out (since I had dropped her into the box when I got stung). I put her into the hive and released the other bees. Here is photo below:
After this, it was time to leave them to do their job. We returned later in the week to check on them. You can see that they are getting along fine. Some honey deposits already and they are building the comb out. They were very busy and did not really care too much about me. This time no sting!