Farm Life

Beekeeping Part 1

As I mentioned a few posts ago, one of the things we are going to do in the spring is try our hands at beekeeping. I took a brief informational class at our local library last year to see if it was something I thought we could do and I was hooked. I know some people are grossed out by flying insects, or deathly afraid of them, as is the case with one of my good friends, but I am neither of those things. I’m actually afraid of losing them and would like there to be more of them. I’m sure you’ve heard about the disaster going on with the bees worldwide; you can read more about it here, here and here.
smoking bees lucky break acres

When I attended the class at the library, I was told the best way to learn about beekeeping was not only reading books and watching videos, but to find a mentor and other beekeepers to hang out with. So I started sporadically attending the Walworth County Beekeeping club. At that club I asked around about how to get started, they told me where to go and who to order my bees from, as well as how many to get.

bees on the frame lucky break acres

Order bees?  I guess I never thought I would be ordering them, though I’m not sure where I thought I would be getting them. Lassoing them in my yard? At the wild bee store? I was told it would be best to start out with two hives and to order two, 3 pound bags of bees. Each 3 pound bag is approximately 10,000 bees. Each bag also contains a queen. I ordered everything and checked out a few books at the library.

bees lucky break acres

I’m still reading up and much to my relief, one of the well-known beekeepers in our area – actually the man who taught the informational class at the library – is teaching a two-day beekeeping class in a few weeks. We signed up and he gave us a very detailed list of all of the equipment to order. We are picking everything up next week. Here’s what I ordered:

  • Hive Tool (for opening the hives. I’ll talk more about propolis later)
  • Smoker
  • Adorable Beekeeper Outfit (so, this is a stretch, but I did order the full body suit. I’m sure I will only use it once or twice, but I would rather be prepared, right?)
  • Leather gloves
  • Frames, Hive Boxes (or brood chambers), Supers (see diagram below)
  • Outer Covers, Inner Covers and Bottom Boards

 

I’m excited and a little bit scared, there is so much information to learn and any time I am responsible for a living thing, even if it’s just a flower, I’m worried about killing it. I’m sure it’s why my career as an EMT never came to fruition.

bees lucky break acres

Maybe you can follow along with us and decide to keep your own bees – many municipalities are passing ordinances allowing people in urban areas to have their own beehives in their backyards, regardless of size. I hope we can inspire you, even if it’s only planting a few bee-friendly flowers in your yard.

 

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12 Comments

  • Reply Momma 2016-01-24 at 12:03 am

    I’m sure when the bees arrive you will be prepared. I can’t wait to see the progress.

    • Reply Michelle 2016-01-24 at 11:47 am

      Thanks!

  • Reply Maryann 2016-01-23 at 10:28 pm

    Save that suit for me! I am so afraid of bees. I wish you all the luck in the world. I know it’s a good thing but I just can’t for the life of me stop beeeeeing afraid!

    • Reply Michelle 2016-01-24 at 11:47 am

      Haha, good one!

  • Reply Kelley 2016-01-23 at 9:21 pm

    I’m so excited for you! This is awesome.

    • Reply Michelle 2016-01-24 at 11:48 am

      Thanks!

  • Reply Cindy Loomer 2016-01-23 at 5:40 pm

    Amy said her friend in Colorado is already doing this. I could pass along Barbs info if you are interested in talking with her. I know you and Ant will be great at this as like everything else. Have fun!!

    • Reply Michelle 2016-01-24 at 11:48 am

      You’re so sweet! A couple of our neighbors are beekeepers as well, so I’m sure if we have any questions we can greet with them. But thank you for the offer!

  • Reply Jeanie Raidl 2016-01-23 at 5:07 pm

    Is Rick Salmon your bee Mentor?
    He works at the food pantry on Monday’s
    Jeanie

    • Reply Michelle 2016-01-23 at 5:15 pm

      He is the one who is teaching the class we are taking!

  • Reply Brian Anderson 2016-01-23 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve been looking in to this as well and have wanted to get a hive going here in Henderson. Unfortunately the city isn’t overly friendly about it and I don’t have a big enough area to do it “covertly”. Will be following your progress closely!!! Enjoy!

    • Reply Michelle 2016-01-23 at 5:16 pm

      I bet that some people in Henderson are trying to work on getting the city to change their minds, it is happening everywhere right now. I’ll be sure to update you with our progress!

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