Monday, August 20, 2012

This should have been posted yesterday....

I had to make an emergency 8 frame hive for my dad's nuc. It looked like it would have be longer than a week before we could meet up, so they had to have a bigger home. The box, bottom board, and cover took me only about two-three hours to build and another few more to paint. Cost was $28 in wood from Home Depot. I had 1 1/4" Screws,  2 1/2" Screws, and some galvanized nails in the garage. Glue and paint was left over from another project.

I made a video of the entire Nuc transfer.. Check it out!

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Starting with Bees

I picked up my first bees yesterday. I ordered two 5 frame nucs which is short for hive nucleus. It contains a starter hive with a queen, workers, brood, eggs, and whatever they have been building for a short while. I picked up one for me and my father (papa bear). He got me into this whole beekeeping thing, and after he got me interested, I have returned the favor by dragging him along.

I had to drive north to Davie, Florida which is sort of an ag area. My truck is a single cab ranger, which made it difficult to fit the two nucs inside next to me... yes inside with me while driving! Ahhh. The reason being is for the air-conditioning. They can easily over heat. What a scary thought to think them all flying outside of the box while going 70 MPH on I-75.

It took me about an hour to get home. One bee managed to free itself from the box while I was driving and attempted to exit through the passenger window. I thought, "this is the craziest thing I've ever done. I can't believe I am doing this." When I arrived home, I exited my side and then slowly opened to passenger door. The escapee flew up, spiraled, and then took off.

I managed to get home about the time my wife pulled up in which I notified her that the bees were in the truck. I placed my hive body, stand, covers and all in the appropriate place that I have been preparing for weeks and grabbed my bee suit. My wife reviewed the steps to CPR and how to call for emergency help as I suited up and put my boots on. It wasn't exactly what I needed to hear before I took a box of thousands of bees and forced them into a new home.

God bee suits are hot. I cut through and peeled back the tape that seeled the box and opened the lid. Oh man, they flew everywhere. There I stood, in a flurry of bees, when before I would have ran at the sound of a faint buzz. I began to slowly move frame by frame transferring from nuc to hive box. I was sweating like a pig, with a big canvas material jacket on and a screened veil distorting my vision. I still couldn't believe what I was doing.

After placing the cover back on to the hive, I moved over to my dad's nuc to open the entrance at least (our plan is to meet up to, since he lives about 4 hours away on the gulf coast). As I squatted down, I felt a sharp pinch in the back of my calf. "Ouch!" I thought. "Ooooweee," I murmured. They got me! It was my first sting since I was a little kid and after about 30 seconds to a minute the heat, stinging, and sharp pain had subsided. It's funny that it took until the last thing I did, peeling back tape from an entrance and carelessly squatting to get stuck with a stinger. I scurried back into the house to take off my hot bee suit and peered outside out my job well done.

"Oh damn," I thought, I hadn't properly put the cover on the hive box and bees were curiously moving out of the hive.

I'll get that later this morning before work. I had enough excitement for one night. Check out my pics of the event!
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Reaching out to open space

What does a guy have to do to get some bees around here? I've called, emailed, and beckoned towards a countless number of people. Every available starter hive or 5 frame nuc is 2-3 hours away. What is shocking to me is the lack of support from local beekeepers. No one is extending a palm to meet my outreached hand. This baffles me, just as I would readily help anyone who needed assistance or showed energy to get started in sustainable practices. Which caused me to ponder whether this is just my nature or is receiving even consultant assistance is a service that should be payed for? This becomes the essential question: Is what we are doing a service or a hobby/activity? I know that currently it is a hobby for me and perhaps it will turn into a business later down the road. I suppose if hobby beekeepers have this desire than they see no harm in charging a fee for helping or making a simple split of their hives. I am at a disadvantage during this time of year, when I can't order bees in the mail and have to start with an established colony. But I still don't think it should be this hard. It gives me time to get everything ready I suppose. And the location in my yard is looking awesome. I will post some pictures shortly. I am working on the stand where the hive and future hives will sit. On a side note. I have heard that Costco is selling out a certain model of solar panels for remarkably cheap. I have heard that there is a 220W panel for 179.99 but have only been able to find a 100W for 189.99 online. Maybe if you contact them you will be able to locate. Here's the link Costco Solar Panel