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!
Time to install.
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.
My package has finally arrived!
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!
Let’s give the hive some flair.
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 many equipment options.
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):