I picked up a surprise package today! The local supplier I purchased my bees from had a few that hadn’t been picked up. They didn’t want them to be left to die so I adopted one, and by one, I mean roughly 10,000. I quickly purchased another hive set up for my new lovelies and drove them out to their new home. Unfortunately, in the haste, I wasn’t able to give their hive flair! Nonetheless, they are installed and happy. (The weather was a little rainy but the poor bees had already been in the package container for 4 days.) I will continue to wait with great anticipation for my first hive inspections!
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So… the day I picked up my lovely ladies (and gents) Montana decided it wanted to rain on my parade. I had to keep them at home for an extra day. I put them on a sheet and placed it on a shelf in our basement. Our basement stays cool which helped the bees regulate their temperatures. Every few hours I sprayed them with sugar water, I wanted to make sure they had full bellies until they could be delivered to their new home.
On to the install. As you may know, where I am keeping my bees is, well, in the middle of nowhere. After driving down the interstate for 30 mins you get on a highway for another 15 mins, from there, you spend the next 45 – 60 mins on dirt roads to reach our property. My war pony makes this trip with her eyes closed. The bees, however, weren’t in love with the chitty-chitty bang-bang required to get to their new home. Once we got there, I sprayed them with sugar water so they could occupy their selves while I prepped.
A couple of weeks prior to my package being shipped I installed a stand for my hive boxes. Experts in my area suggested that I tilt the front of my hives forward just ever so slightly – I did just that.
Now, the moment I had been waiting so long for – installing my ladies (and gents)! I had researched a few different methods for installing. I chose to use the typical method of jarring them down and pouring them into the hive frames. I can’t explain how amazingly satisfying this was… I immediately became overwhelmed with excitement, happiness, and curiosity all in one fell-swoop! It was like the bees knew exactly what was being politely asked of them, one by one they found a place in the hive, until there was enough room for everyone.
I stood there and took in the moment, calmly placed the remaining frames, my feeders, and covers. I had officially installed my first package of bees. GO ME.
After loading up on all of my equipment I moved forward with purchasing a package (rather than a nuc) of bees through a local farm supply store. Why a farm supply store? Because they helped me through the process and made it extra easy. I’m a full time wife, mother, and professional… anything that saves me time is a plus! I had the option between Italian or Carniolans. After much debate I decided to go with the Carniolans. They seemed to be a great well rounded bee for my area and experience level (watch for a future post on my research).The store did a great job of calling to update me on the expected arrival date of my precious cargo. The day before they arrived I received one last call letting me know they would be there the next day and that I had 8 hours to pick them up. My family and I went the very next morning to get them. They were all stacked up on a pallet and were much quieter than I expected! After months of waiting I was finally able to meet my bees and take my first official step towards becoming a “beekeeper”. I found myself immediately mesmerized by the weight of the package and the bees fluid look as they “cuddled” together to stay warm. I loaded them in the back of the war pony (my beloved Cherokee) and off we went for our grand adventure!
Winter can be so long and I was really in need of something to keep me busy while I waited for Spring to arrive. Here in Montana you never really know when that is going to be. The hive I purchased was preassembled but it wasn’t painted or primed. I figured throwing a quick coat of paint on it would be a productive way to pass the time. No, no, I couldn’t just go with white. My bees deserved a hive with some character. After looking into it I found out that bees don’t like dark colors and that is why most hives are painted pastel colors. I’m not a fan of the usual and went with a vibrant blue green called Eucalyptus and added a decorative gold honeycomb pattern just for the fun of it. I’m sure the bees will love it!
*Don’t mind our garage door. The chickens thought it would be fun to peck out the insulation. The hubs made do with a can of Great Stuff.
So, I want to be a beekeeper. Wonder what equipment I’ll need? After reading a couple of books, spending countless hours researching online, and speaking with a couple locals I quickly realized everyone has a different opinion on “essential equipment”. Here is a quick rundown on what I decided to pick up:
Humble Bee Beekeeping Suit:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P5B28YK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Hive Kit (I purchased something similar to this kit without the tools for $249.00 at my local ranch supply store):