Sunday, March 30, 2014

TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE

That is the question...


...and the answer is TO BEE!  Yes, we are going to have hives.  

Unfortunately, what I learned at the school yesterday was that, for this part of the country anyway, it's a bit too late to start hives this year.  I met with the instructor after the morning "Beekeeping 101" class and explained our situation.  He said that while we might be able to push it and order bees now, by the time they come in, coupled with the fact that we'd be rushed in buying supplies and setting things up, the bees would likely miss the all important honey flow.  There are all sorts of new hive rules I had no idea about (but do now!).

This is just about to be the peak 'honey flow' season in these parts, meaning that bees will be foraging like crazy to get honey for the hive before the heat of Summer sets in when there are less blooms available, then trying to get more for surplus to make it through the Winter.

We talked about it and decided that it makes more sense for us to find the area on the property that works best, clear it, and build it up with native foraging plants and flowers ("Beescaping").  This also allows time to spend money more frugally by buying supplies (remember, we have none, we'll need 'everything') when they are on sale, free shipping offers, craigslist finds, etc.


So now, I will start ordering supplies, a few at a time.  That will be fun.  The hives of course but also tools, accessories, bee suits, etc.  Of course, I'll also have a whole new area to clear on the Big Green Zen Machine.  He suggested ordering bees in December for arrival at the right time next year, then we just put them in their new hives and wait for the magic to happen.

That gives us about nine months to prepare for their arrival...hmm, I guess you could say we'll be 'nesting'...just like expectant parents, LOL!

Or would that be "hiving"?  

I'll have pictures and details on the beekeeping school tomorrow.

8 comments:

Joani said...

Awesome. A new project. Sounds like a lot of fun. Start making those lists.

Jenny said...

I can only wish for bees., but this area is too populated and they are "dangerous" to neighbours :(

Anonymous said...

I have a hedge of viburnum that surrounds my vegetable garden and 30-tree assorted orchard. The bees love it and then they go on to pollinate my veggies and fruit trees. Plus the smell is gorgeous!
Good luck with your bee project!

Texas Rose

2 Tramps said...

Very nice that you will be "sharing" bees with others in your area. For many years here we had no bees here - I used to pollinate squash and tomatoes with feathers. But in the last several years, bees have been visiting us - something we attribute to the possibility that someone within a mile or two has hives. We are so grateful!

Kris said...

So exciting!! 9 months is not that far away really. And you'll have all that time to get your plants and flowers going. I'm so happy you're getting bees! I have 2 packages of Italian bees that we will pick up in Knoxville the beginning of May. To me that's so far away and I wish we could get them in April. But we have a new hive to put together and then all the new frames for the old hive and the new hive. So about 60 frames to get done. And I will be planting lots of bee favorites. Can't wait to get bees again! I love them. Today, while outside cleaning the old hive boxes, a honeybee came and landed on my shoulder! Just amazing. Can't wait to read about your bee adventures now.

Mystic Mud said...

Oh wow...you are really going to love having bees! I love mine. One bee may not seem like much, but a hive of them takes on a life of its own. They are amazing and beautiful creatures that I've come to care for very deeply, which who would have thought about bees!? Be careful of used equipment, some of it has diseases that you can bring home...you probably learned that in your bee class, but just in case you didn't I thought I'd mention it. And there is a tree for bees...I can't think of the name of it now, but you might google and if you're planting stuff for them. Good luck :)

S'A said...

That is really neat. My Grandpa kept bees. If we had the space for it, I think I would like to do it. Definitely, enjoy the process.

Marcia said...

I too considered having bees. When we purchased these 8 acres and starting planning a house I figured it would be something I could do. I signed up for the beekeeping course - a 4 week commitment in late winter but then only managed to attend two classes. Life intruded. When we finally moved in I still considered it but what with the garden expanse I was maintaining and the problems bee keepers were having with that die off, I decided it wasn't to bee for me. As it turns out despite all the flowers I have I rarely see a honey bee around. I may have helped to have had them but now I have all I can manage to take care of.