Sunday, March 28, 2010

To Catch a Bee...

The weather has been cold recently, so nothing much has been happening with the bees. When the temperature is high enough, a few come out, but it isn't anything major.

If a person wants to become a beekeeper, he/she usually starts a hive by purchasing a package (like I did). There are commercial beekeepers (usually in the south) who build up bee hives in order to produce packages for other. But packages are a relatively modern convenience. In the "olden days" beekeepers took advantage of the natural reproductive tendencies of bees - a swarm. I learned last year about that first hand. Beekeepers would put out enclosures which are attractive to the scout bees looking for a new home. These days you can also add a swarm "lure" which makes the enclosure even more enticing.

You can purchase a swarm trap, which is basically a round pressed paper hive, and bait it with swarm lure. Or you can use what most beekeepers have - a nuc (or nucleus hive). I made a nuc last year, but it had some extra bells and whistles on it (like a screened bottom) that I don't need. Plus, I had some extra wood just begging to be used. So tonight I went to the garage and put together a simple nuc. Here it is:

While making the nuc, I once again reaffirmed my good career decision that I did not undertake a job in woodworking or cabinet making. My edges are not as nice as from someone who works with wood for a living. But the bees don't care! I haven't painted it yet (white, of course) and I am waiting for the nuc disc entrance to be delivered.

Once the weather starts warming up, I'm going to put it in my back yard, up high, just like bees like. Swarm season is in May/June. Who knows - maybe some new neighbors will move in!

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