So we tried bees two years ago. We bought a top bar hive, all the safety gear, and a package of bees. We installed the bees and all was good. Then we got a storm, the storm broke off a branch from a willow on the property and it landed on the hive. The bees left, but it was still early in the season so I repaired the hive and hoped that they’d come back. They didn’t but a wild swarm did. Hooray, we’re beekeepers again. Three or four weeks later, another storm comes in, and yet again another branch comes down and hits the hive again. This time it broke one of the legs and punctured the cover. The bees left again. That was a quick summary of year one of beekeeping. Last year, we took a break so we could focus on other aspects of the farm and get some of our other processes dialed in.
Setup of the new hive and older top bar hive.
This year we are trying bees again. We purchased a new Langstroth hive from Hansen Honey Farm (hansenhoneyfarm.com) along with a five frame nuc. This gives the bees a much stronger start, and if this hive swarms, we will put them into the top bar hive which has since been repaired. To save some money we purchased the hive kits and assembled them ourselves, because these boxes are pine they require painting or staining. We had some outdoor paint left over from some other projects so they are now painted a nice vibrant yellow. Assembling the boxes was easy, the frames, not so much, however we got it done and ready for the bees.
In addition to the new hive we relocated the hives near the pond, but away from the willows so there should be no more incidents with fallen branches. A new hive stand was built from 4x4s and cinder blocks scavenged from around the property.
The bees arrived and because we purchased from Hansen, they had a local pickup option that we took advantage of. This made installing them super easy and convenient, not to mention there was no delivery guy freaked out by a hive of bees. I watched a few youtube videos of the best way to install them, and I must say it was just as easy as the videos showed.
Bees installed and happy.
During the install, one been found its way into my shoe, so I’m now officially a beekeeper because I have been stung. The bees are now installed an actively foraging the property, and based upon my first inspection they are doing well, building out comb, brood, and making honey. In a few weeks time it will be time to add frames to the honey super and stop feeding them.
We will not have honey available this year as we are focused on growing out a strong colony.We plan on adding hives every year as our on site forage increases for them and we build more hives.
Terry Installing Last Honey Super