so my latest farm project is bees. yep bees. i’ve been taking classes for about a year (not like every week more like once every other month) to really learn about bees how to keep and maintain them. the bee population is rapidly decreasing due to commercial building, pesticides and sprays and other junk we are doing to our earth. after learning more about how bees work and operate and how good they are for our earth and food supply i decided why not give it a whirl. plus the hobby comes with some super swank accessories.
i’ve been taking classes at great lakes bee supply in galesburg. i highly highly highly recommend getting involved with an organization or bee club to help you get started. the folks at great lakes have been a HUGE help with getting me started with bee keeping. their classes are informative and they answer all my questions that i call in with on pretty much a weekly basis. (i just don’t want to screw it up!) i bought almost all of my accessories from great lakes bee including my long box hive. this allows me to check on my bees progress and look for diseases and disruption without having to take off the heavy boxes. it was a bit more pricy than just the standard hives but i feel like it will pay off for me in the long run. especially because joe said he wasn’t coming near the bees to help me with anything. i can’t blame him he hates bees and has a borderline irrational sense of fear around them. i mean don’t get me wrong i’m not a fan of getting stung but i’m not going to run around the yard freaking out about it.
i went to pick up my first NUC (nucleus) last week saturday from great lakes bee and drove it home. that was pretty much the most nerve wracking part. if i got rear ended i was toast (and honey). the white plastic box was buzzing like crazy and it vibrated when you held it. i got home and suited up. joe helped me move my long box into place before there were any bees present. the box should be on a south east facing slope with some protection from wind and eventually snow. morning sun and afternoon shade is best. we decided the slight hill behind the garage and by my garden would be the best spot for them. i got everything i could assembled first before unleashing the beasts. i got my frames in order, everything set, gloves on and i popped the seal off the NUC box. i couldn’t believe my eyes when i opened it. there were just… so many bees. and they. were. pissed. i sat there staring for a minute calming my nerves because i’m not going to lie it’s quite an adrenaline rush! the buzzing is so loud and you just have so many bees landing on you it’s crazy! it took me a bit to break the frames free from the box as they had already gone to work building up comb and honey in those frames. they stick together. i was doing my best not to crush any of them. the number one goal is do not crush the queen. you crush her and it’s game over for the entire hive.
one by one i moved the frames into the new hive box and sandwiched my new frames around them. i watched them for a bit get acclimated to their new surroundings before stepping back and brushing bees off me. steping back again and wiping more bees. i was finally bee free when i walked back to the barn and got out of my suit. as the day when on and the sun started to set you could see all the strangler bees had made their way back into their new home and were starting to get used to how things ran around there. i still haven’t spotted the queen bee. i’m hoping to check on them again tonight when it gets a little cooler and they aren’t as pissy. (you don’t want to check the hive in the heat of the day). i’m excited to see how this goes (and cross my fingers my bee suit fits for a few more months!)