Since 2015 is our year of adventure, Mark and I are about to take on a new one – beekeeping! We had actually decided to do it last year, but by the time we started our research it was too late in the spring to get bees, which was really a blessing in disguise as it gave us time to look into beekeeping further.
In our research, I found that there were a few beginner beekeeping classes in our area. Mark and I both attended a one-day workshop at a local nature preserve that provided a great high-level overview on what to expect out of beekeeping. I then signed up for a 6-week beekeeping course with the same instructor – so glad I did! Bees are a lot more complex of a creature than I ever expected. Our instructor went through all aspects of beekeeping that you should consider before starting your own apiary and even invited us to help install the bees at the nature preserve’s apiary to get a feel for it before we did it on our own. If you’re looking to start beekeeping, I’d highly recommend taking a class with someone who knows what they are doing.
We bought our bees and the unassembled hive from a local beekeeper at Buzzworthy Beeworks, and our beekeeping supplies from Dadant, one of the more well-known beekeeping supply companies. Though it was somewhat tedious to put together each of the frames where the brood and honey will be stored, Mark and I really enjoyed building and painting our hive together.
Before our bees arrived, there were a few tools that we needed to get, including:
- Beekeeping suits
- Beekeeping gloves
- Hive tools to help pry open the boxes once the honey season really starts
- Bee brushes to gently brush off bees on the frames
- A large mason jar full of sugar syrup to help feed the bees while the flower and pollen supply is still low
- A pollen patty for the same reason
- A spray bottle of sugar syrup to help calm the bees down when installing them in the hive. They are too busy eating up the yummy sugar to care what you are doing.
- Small marshmallows – your queen bee will come in a special little box on her own. You have to give your bees time to get used to her so you place her in the hive with them but replace the cork with a marshmallow for the workers to eat and release her. This gives them time to get acclimated to her pheromones.
- Smoker – though you won’t use this when you are installing your bees, you’ll need this when you are inspecting and managing the hive after that.
We’re so excited to be starting this new adventure – and really looking forward to some delicious honey!
Next up – installing our bees into our hive