Thursday, July 24, 2014

I, Beekeeper

This past weekend, I got some bees.

One of five new frames of bees I installed this weekend.
I've been wanting them for a while, but my original bee source had a few hive collapses, so I had to go to another friend. It's funny that some other homeschooling friends of mine are into beekeeping, and one split off a nuc for me.

I've have the hive for quite a while (several months), and it's been built and sitting in the shed for a long time. 

A pile of frames, my beekeeping book, and a beer.
Hive building night was awesome!

Zoom-in on the frames.

Building a super.
My hive has short frames in it, and my buddy from whom I got the bees used long frames. So, we had to pull out 10 of mine, and the middle divider, to fit the 5 frames with bees. So I can simple buy another super box and add the 10 frames to it to expand the hive. I'll likely do that here in the next month or two.

The bees themselves are doing great. We spotted the queen while transporting them in, and confirmed larvae and eggs.

You can see the discrepancies in frame length if you look closely.
I have, on the edges, 2 vertically stacks sets of 2 and 3 frames, respectively,
with the 5 long ones in the middle.
The hive itself is about 175 feet from the house, set on a large rock amidst the orchard, facing south-east, and set atop a few bricks. I placed a feeder out there to make sure they are plenty strong heading into winter.

In my apothecary kitchen, I mixed up some organic coconut nectar
with water in a 1:1 syrup, by weight.
I'll be feeding them until it freezes to make sure they can survive the winter.
The current hive in all its glory, feeder included. 

Close-up of the feeder, the hive entrance, and some bees. Woo!

I looped around a bit to capture the hive in its location. You can see some pear trees,
and the hay field behind them.
The box to the left held the nuc frames.

My plan is to feed this hive heavily so they come on string in the spring. I may or may not take any honey then - we'll see how it goes. Over the winter some time, I want to build a perone or a warre hive (or possibly my own modification of one), and encourage the existing hive to out-grow the supers and swarm. Capturing a second hive, and allowing it thrive in a natural state where the bees build their own foundation and everything, is the ultimate vision.

For now, I have to care for what I have and lay the infrastructure.

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