It’s been a long time since I kept bees, but my friend Sam from Scrubland Farmz just hooked me up.
He arrived late on Monday the 18th – 11PM – having driven all the way up from the Orange Springs, and we put two nuc boxes of bees in the backyard.
Then on Tuesday morning, we got them properly set up.
The two hives are now near the back of the grassy area behind our gardens.
We put them on a pallet for now.
A nuc box just has five frames in it and is the foundation of a bee colony.
The box on the left has a smaller population and contains a swarm Sam captured. The box on the right is almost full of bees already and came from a colony split.
I plan to keep bees in a few different ways. I’m not convinced that the Langstroth hive design is the best for the bees and am frantically reading as much as I can.
I currently have two Langstroth hives on order so I can transfer these nuc colonies into them and get the bees started, but I would like to move into deep frame horizontal hives.
I also purchased all the materials to make a “Langstroth Long” hive today, which is sort of a hybrid of a Langstroth and a Top Bar hive.
As a side note: making the Langstroth Long hive from Leo Sharaskin’s plans is supposed to cost less than $60; however, with our current runaway inflation it cost me over $200 for the materials! And I don’t even have the frames for them yet! The wood alone was over $100, then we had to get paint, screws, and some router bits… the Langstroth deep hives with frames from Dadant are actually cheaper! The cost of everything is making me sick…
No use complaining, though. We just need to spend our paper trash money on real things before it’s worthless. THINK POSITIVELY!
We can blow it on real things, like making beehives!
I like this Top Bar design from Philip Chandler:
I was never particularly good at keeping bees when I worked with Langstroth hives back in Tennessee, but even experienced beekeepers were losing their colonies en masse there, so I wasn’t alone. Colony Collapse Disorder was a big problem.
I think keeping bees in a more natural way will help immensely. I also think our organic gardens and vast amount of unsprayed swamp, meadows, clover, etc., will be very good for these new colonies.
The gardens and the plant breeding projects are all going to appreciate the pollination, even if we don’t get much honey in our first year.
I’ll keep you posted.