Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Start Right With Bees

As many of you know I was talking about getting bees and ladies and gents I DID IT!!! I am a proud urban beekeeper. I live on less than an 8th of an acre in the middle of Tulsa and I keep both bees and chickens.

Here is the story.

Months ago I got the bee bug. I was very interested in starting my own hive so I started reading, watching YouTube videos, talking to people I know that keep bees and surfing the web. I learned a lot about the bee's life cycle, the different problems that could arise and the different illnesses bees can get.

I contacted BeeWeaver and Ramona said that they would sponsor my queen bee and then I started looking for local bees as worker bees to start my hive. I went on craigslist.org and found Ozark Bee Supplies and the man that runs it, Greg, was very helpful and full of information.

I started doing my research on where I could get a starter kit which includes the hive, a head vale, a hive tool, leather gloves, 10 plastic base frames and a smoker. I found one through Amazon and since I have Prime I didn't have to pay for shipping on it. I also bought another deep super to put on top of the 10 frame hive so that the bees had plenty of space for brood and honey through the winter. I'm told I won't need a honey super this year.

A little over a week ago on a Friday I got my queen bee IN THE MAIL from BeeWeaver apiaries. Yes you read me right I got her in the mail. She came in an envelop, but in the envelop she and some of her companions were in a sturdy wooden enclosure. The post office had tried to call me to pick it up but the number was wrong for some reason on the envelop but the nice lady at the post office delivered it to me on her way home from work.

The BeeWeaver queen and her attendants in the wooden box she arrived in.
I had gotten my hive ready the week before. Set up in my veggie garden and talked to Greg. a local bee keeper of Ozark Bee Supplies, that was willing to part with three frames of brood (baby bees), honey and worker bees for $20 dollars a frame and he keeps the frames from my hive that he is replacing.

So since my queen was there Greg told me to bring my hive, my queen bee, and a strap to keep the hive together for the drive home. I drive out to Jenks, OK to pick up my worker bees and frames and meet Greg for the first time in person. He was exactly what you would think a cowboy would look like but with a bee vale instead of a cowboy hat. Just wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. He put the hive strap on my hive to take it to where the bees are and he doesn't put on any more protective clothing. I put on a black army jacket on and he tells me that Black is not a good idea and that I should probably get something more Bee Keeperish for the future.  I wish I had gotten photos of this experience but I was so excited about getting my bees that I forgot to take the camera with me. He takes me to the bees and opens my hive and then opens a nuc that has the frames that he was going to put in my hive. He did this with his bare hands and doesn't get stung once. I was in awe. At first a little stressed with ALL the bees buzzing around me but then when I realized that they couldn't care less if I was there or not I relaxed and just enjoyed the sounds and sights of the bees.

He put the three frames in to the hive and then just knocked the rest of the bees out of the nuc into my hive and put the queen in her wooden cage into the hive between the frames he put in my hive. Then he closed up the hive, secured it with the strap and then taped the entrance closed with duct tape so that they couldn't get out! Then I asked my questions about how long to keep the queen in the cage and so fourth and the hive went in my Mazda5 and I drove home with a hive full of angry bees in the car with me! Very exciting but also I was very aware of EVERY bump in the road and prayed that I would not get in a car accident on the way home and be stuck in a car full of angry bees that have escaped their hive because of the accident.

I brought my hive home put it in place where I took the duct tape off and let the bees be bees for a little over a week. Only feeding them some sugar water to help the workers accept the queen and help with a stressful transition. Watching them come back from foraging with their back legs FULL of orange and white pollen. They have been such good bees.

Bees busy being bees.
Yesterday I let the queen out of her cage so that she can start laying her eggs again and my sister in law was nice enough to document it with her iPhone. She did not have a bee vale and even though it was a bit windy (not ideal) my bees were only a little unhappy when I grabbed the queen cage out of the hive. Had I not had gloves then I had been stung a few times. But when I was messing with the frames to see what sort of work they had been doing (they had been very busy bees and built up great comb) they couldn't have cared less. I also opened the opening up to its next size up to make it easier for my bees to get in and out of the hive to bring in the pollen and honey.
My ladies have been busy on this new frame.
One of the frames I got from Ozark Bee Supplies
Now I must wait 10 days before checking on them again to make sure my queen is laying eggs. I'm SUPER excited! Can't wait to see how much work they will have done in another 10 days.

BeeWeaver, that sent me the super nice queen bee, also has a new store that sells bee related products. You should check them out. The store is called BeeGoods.

4 comments:

  1. I am super impressed. That sounds like so much fun.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope everything goes well with the hive.

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  3. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week! Come grab a button because you're a featured blogger this week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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