Anita and I have been thinking about, and designing a Bee Garden; my daughter is close and has about 3 acres, so we are going to keep the bees there instead of at our yard, so this is much better for all involved.
We’ve purchased some bee friendly seeds from Ohio Prairie Nursery, and are figuring out where to put them (www.ohioprairienursery.com); they had some really neat seed packets, endorsed by Ohio State Beekeepers Association and West Virginia Beekeepers; I got a handful of those packets, plus some others that have different blooming periods. This will help in a small way (cause you really need acres and acres of flowers for a colony), but in time, perhaps this can expand.
I’m big on perennials because of lower maintenance, but there are trade-offs with annuals; these mixes have both; hopefully, by the 2nd season, the perennials will be well-established; with more acreage, hopefully we can create a really nice place for both us and the bees.
Went to the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association meeting tonight.
Apparently there is a “Bee School” in February; I’m sure Anita will sign us up.
Dinner, awards, and networking with more peeps.
1 guy, first year, put his name on a list to collect swarms, quickly went from 2 hives to 10; he’s doing quite well; don’t put your name on a list indicating you will collect swarms, until you are sure what you are going to do with them, and can handle them; I asked someone about the volume, and he indicated that if you include “cut-outs” (swarms in walls of buildings, etc.), he said that the metropolitan Columbus area has 3 swarms a day…. wow….. I hadn’t figured there were that many.
Been putting together the hive boxes and the frames (and foundation) from Brushy Mountain; 5 boxes of cool stuff, absolutely no missing parts, but this can get tedious… 70 frames to put together….
Decided to paint the boxes different colors; that, and separating the hives should be very good at preventing any colony drift as the bees navigate.
We are going to try 2 systems; one of the hives will have a medium super for honeycomb honey, and the other will have the flow hive for harvesting any surplus honey; it’ll be a neat experiment. The FlowHive is cool, but you don’t harvest any wax from it; so if you want wax or pure in-the-comb honey, then the FlowHive is not what you want.
My fingers are a little tore up…. 70 frames with tiny little nails…. buahaha..
Brushy Mountain has plenty of videos online to help understand how to put those things together, but you might have to search YouTube to find them.
Went to the Ohio State Beekeepers Association Annual meeting at Tolles Technical Center; this was a neat event; got to meet a lot of peeps, look at and touch equipment, talk to the vendors, etc.
The talk on the how bees mate was fascinating; I had no idea; and kudos to the speaker (Dr. Ellis; University of Florida; really knows his stuff).
After looking around, and talking to folks:
- I think the polystyrene hives (though a good idea) are still being proven in this area; I wonder what winter ventilation issues there may be; plus, I’m not sure that should be our first set of equipment, cause once you jump onto that bandwagon, you are pretty much locked into that system (they don’t seem to interchange very well across manufacturers); I think I’ll follow advice to start with standard stuff.
- I liked the discussions I had with the folks at the Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com), and the quality of their equipment for the price. I bought a bee suit from them (even though a stranger was telling me that I only need a bee jacket as I was trying it on.. maybe so on that one, but I’ll error on the side of caution until I can form my own opinion). Got started with a whole set of stuff; they’ll ship it to the house, I’ll have to put it together; they made it interesting with free shipping and a 10% discount on the whole deal; 2 complete hives, all mediums (my idea; I liked what some beekeepers advise on standardizing on mediums, cause then the equipment is all the same, and 3 mediums is approximately the same size as 2 deeps).
- Talked with the guy at BroodMinder, and bought 2 completes (1 for each hive) for monitoring hive temperature, humidity, and weight; felt it was superior to some of the other gadgets out there (smaller, synchs to bluetooth, then synchs up to web when you are near wi-fi; this was a much better answer than the vendor selling a physically huge unit, and advising me to install wi-fi repeaters in my bee yard…. big NO on that one). Plus, I liked their story and what they are trying to do, so I’ll support them where I can. Especially for starting out, I like to quantify and track parameters as much as I can.
- Put my name in with some vendors on getting some Nucs for Spring; seems they are almost ordered – out already; now I’m worried I won’t be able to get bees; not crazy about the packaged bees; would prefer to get an established, over-wintered colony AND get local bees instead of bees from California, or Georgia, etc.
- Anita got stuff too… (hahahahaaha)… I’m like a kid in a candy store….
Been reading a lot of books and stuff that Anita has gotten from the library; figuring out and learning stuff; fascinating.
The books we are reading (each of us) and the DVDs we are watching include:
- Beekeeping; A practical guide – Bonney – ISBN 978-0-88266-861-1
- Honey Bees; Letters from the hive – Buchmann – ISBM 978-0-385-73770-8
- Storey’s guide to keeping honey bees – Sanford, etc. – ISBN 978-1-60342-550-6
- The Bee Book – Chadwick, etc. – ISBN 978-1-4654-4383-0
- The Biology of the Honey Bee – Winston – ISBN 0-674-07408-4
- The Complete Idiot’s guide to beekeeping – Stiglitz, etc. – ISBN978-1-61564-011-9
- The Hive Detectives – Burns – ISBN 978-0-547-15231-8
- Victory Gardens for Bees – Weidenhammer – ISBN 978-1-77162-053-6
- Wisdom for Beekeepers – Tew – ISBN 978-1-62113-761-0
- DVD – More Than Honey – Markus Imhoof
- DVD – Saving The Life Keepers – Brian Cambell, etc.
- DVD – Queen of the Sun – Jon Betz
I’m not going to go into the large hand-fulls of you-tube videos we’ve watched as well; all that information can be confusing since anyone with a camera and a bee-suit can end up with a posted video; not that the information isn’t useful (because it is) but there’s an awful lot of stuff out there. [The FlowHive stuff seems intriguing; THAT’s a neat gadget!]
Based on our county rules, we can have beehives in our yard (we’re on about 3/4 of an acre), and will have to get permits (but that’s easy to do); our only contention is that we don’t have our own fence, and any hive within 10 feet of a neighbor’s yard, needs to have a 6 foot fence; I can move the hive in (now were are thinking of getting 2 hives based on what we read), and have been designing some layouts.
She’s signed us up as members of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association, and to the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association, and will be going to the annual meeting on 5 Nov. 2016; I’ll write about that one when it’s over.
Well, there we were at Tractor Farm Supply; Anita has been doing a little research, and wants to look at Bee supplies out there.
We bought a bee “kit”; has a smoker, lid, hive tool, 10 frames (with foundation), 1 deep box, and an entrance reducer (already assembled).
I laugh because on the box (trying to make this seem easy) is a blowout that says “Just Add Bees”…. I’m sure its not that simple, but the marketing cracks me up.
Sent a picture to the kids with me opening the box, pretending like bees are flying out of it (cause I’m so awesome hilarious)…..
Here we are in Georgia for the Annual Pig On The Hill pig roast; we’ve been coming to this on and off for about 30 years, going to where ever the hosts have lived….
One of our Ohio neighbors is here as well; he’s gotten his first bee hive, and is telling us about his first honey harvest of 50 lbs, how he bought his bees (they come in a package?), where he has them, and what he’s been doing.
Seems he’s got this bug (mite) problem, where he’s got to dust the bees with powered sugar, and then count the mites that fall off onto some grid; based on the numbers of dead mites on the grid, he’ll have to figure out if he needs to treat his bees with chemicals (or something).
I’ve heard of bees getting these mites, but didn’t know about the powdered sugar thing; that’s kinda neat.
Anyway, Anita and I talked about it on the way home; he talked with us about the bees for probably a half hour; we’ll call him when we get home; start asking him how we can get started.