Bees!!

We are excited.  All four of us, and the 20,000 little friends we went to pick up…  In fact, big sister said on the way home that all she wanted for her birthday was a bee suit.  “nothing else, just that, so I can help you Daddy”.  One guess on what she’s getting for her birthday.

We have kept bees off and on for about 9 years now.  The last two years have been bee-less (with the birth of our second little farmer we decided to not overly complicate things).  With all the hoopla about CCD (colony collapse disorder), home schooling big sister, and a bunch of equipment just sitting, it seemed like the thing to do.  That or liquidate a bunch of bee gear.

So we forked over just under $100 each for a couple of packages (I felt old thinking that they used to cost half that).  And had a nice little trip up to Burlington to pick the packages up.  The weather wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t raining either…  Since then, we have not been so lucky.

Here is the pile of gear yet to be sorted…  In surprisingly good shape for 2 years of poor storage.  Yes it all needs paint.

The folks at Belleville Honey had a little netting tent with a new hive and package in it to demonstrate.  Cool for the little one’s to be so close…

One cute little girl looking at another…  And packages.  Quick math…  Just under $6,000 in bees.  And there are at least two more pallets…

Back Home.  That’s a hive top feeder (unpainted) on the deep super.  I like the hive top feeders as I can fill them at night, without opening the hive itself.  Very nice.

Like I said.  Everything is in need of a coat of paint.

On the left is the package on top of their new home.  The metal can is full of sugar syrup.  Bee food for the trip.  That glob of bees on the top of the frame is covering the Queen.  She is in a little cage all by herself.  The workers feed her during the trip, and once I replace the cork with a plug of sugar candy, they eat that and she can get out into the hive (in a day or two).  I didn’t get any photos of actually shaking the package into the hive but it’s just like it sounds.  I spray the bees down with a little water from a mister bottle to keep them from being as flighty, and as they don’t have any brood or honey to guard, they are very docile.

I jam some grass into the entrance at the bottom so they don’t have such a big front door to guard until they get comfy in their new diggs.  They are fed sugar syrup until a good nectar flow starts, and at about a quart to two a day they are thirsty…  I’ll try to follow them through this season, which should be interesting as they are scheduled to run to Duvall for some Locust, and I am trying to find someone near a clear cut in Stanwood so I can get them close to some low land fireweed.

~///~

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7 thoughts on “Bees!!

  1. Dad

    Awesome! You put together a great posting! And the photography is, of course, gorgeous. Any way to link your blog to our website and / or Facebook page?
    Love,
    Dad

    Reply
  2. Emily

    I just got my bees situated in their new home on Sunday. Our weather has been cold and cloudy, but the forecast is looking up- so I’m looking forward to checking on them soon. We are all very excited around here about the bees. My five year old is interested in helping- I’m thinking I should have ordered him a suit while I was getting my own. I never thought I’d be as excited about just checking on and caring for the bees as much as I am about the end product. Nice post, emily

    Reply
    1. adalynfarm Post author

      Emily,
      We are in the same place with our 5 year old, do we spend the $$ on something that she will only occasionally use… The weather has been wet and cold here as well, they are eating a TON! (two quarts a day each) but are happy! The weather looks good today and I am hoping to get in and see how they are doing, possibly add the second brood chamber. All that in preparation for Locust Trees in a few weeks!
      The end product is loads of fun too though I think I have a post with her helping Grandpa run the extractor. She also loves rendering the wax (what kid doesn’t love making ‘wax finger gloves’).
      I’m looking forward to your experiences up in AK with bees!

      Reply
  3. hortophile

    I just followed you here from your comment on my blog – and saw your bee post. Intriguing! I was just saying to my husband that I’d love to add a hive to our “hobby farm” but don’t know where to start. Or if I am brave enough to be the bee’s keeper! Any thoughts?

    Reply
    1. adalynfarm Post author

      There are lots of places to start with bees! Unfortunately spring (April) is the best time to get started with bees… If you are curious, I would look into any local bee clubs that meet in your area. They often have ‘work parties’ that you can take part in. It’s a good chance to learn first hand from folks in your area who know the ins and outs of the local bee scene. That also gives you a year to pull together the equipment you would need. I’ve heard estimates from $200 to $800 for all the equipment you would need for the first year with a hive or two. It really all depends.

      The nice thing about getting in touch with a local club, is that you might find someone who want’s to sell off some extra hives instead of overwintering them, used equipment and such as well. If you are a reader there are several really good books out there (and lots that are OK), Let me know and I can send you my list of ‘must reads’. There is also a great web site run by a couple in Illinois : http://www.honeybeesonline.com/. They have some great lessons and videos. It’s a little dated, but one of the best was done back in the 60’s or 70’s by Keith Delaplane (PHD in entomology, he knows his stuff) they are all available on line, in bits and pieces on Youtube. Here’s a link to that… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjrdwXXEtLo&feature=feedwll&list=WL

      Wow that got a bit longer than I thought it would… Well if you really want more information, feel free to drop me a line!

      Reply

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