Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It's hard to believe that in exactly 2 weeks, I will have my hands on a package of 10,000 living, breathing, BUZZING bees! A week from next Monday after work I'll drive up to New England Bees and pick up my pre-ordered package. I ordered the package with a marked queen. It was a few dollars more, but as a beginner I figure I'll need all the help I can get identifying the queen!
Tonight I put the final coat of paint on most of the hive woodware (the picture above is some of the pieces I painted). I chose a brown color, to help it blend into the landscape. The bees don't mind the color, and I want to be a little inconspicuous with my hive (not that I expect problems, but why flaunt things with a bright whitewashed looking hive glaring in the backyard). I've got another evening of painting to do to finish the work.
I still have some work to do outside to prepare the hive location. I decided to set the hive right past the edge of my grass into a small area cleared in the wild area of the property. It'll face the east, so that the morning sun will rouse the bees and get them working (no sleeping in at our household!). Due to the location a little shade will be unavoidable, but I am trying to minimize things.
A week or so ago I ordered a bee suit from Dadant, and it arrived on Monday. I put it on, and after my family stopped laughing and commenting that I looked like either a spaceman (my 8 year old) or a fencing student (wife), I showed them how the various flaps, etc. keep out the bees. I think I will probably pick up an extra veil or two to have on-hand in case someone wants to see the hive more up close.
My wife is very supportive of my new endeavor, and even was asking about what plants to plant, etc. But the other night I made the mistake of showing her a picture gallery of a guy who removes swarms in houses for a living. He has some really cool pictures showing a natural comb hive ... occupying the space between studs of a living room wall! She looked at that, and asked, "could that happen TO US?!?!?!" I had to reassure her that the bees will be busy with their own hive, and having a relatively new house, we don't have the nooks and crannies that the bees will like. I hope I was right :-)
My friends at work know that I am starting on this adventure. It comes up as a topic of conversation around the lunch table quite often. Since I have done a lot of reading about beekeeping, my boss commented that I was a veritable wikipedia on the art/science of beekeeping. We'll see how my book learnin' translates into real live events.
So the next time I post should I should have some actual bees!