Category Archives: Apiary

Taking care of beez-niz

Back at the beginning of the month, I finally made the leap into beekeeping.  A “hobby” I have been considering for some time.  Not really about the honey.  These creatures truly interest me, and they are having a bit of a rough time these days.  Most experts readily admit they don’t know exactly what is wrong, but there are plenty of reasonable theories, most of which are man-made causes.

If you aren’t that familiar with the problem, it’s worth your while to understand what it is and why it is important.  I’ve provided a pretty standard set of government released data below:

USDA: ARS Honey Bee Health and Colony Collapse Disorder

EPA: Colony Collapse DIsorder

NRDC: The buzz about CCD

There are no shortage of options on how to start keeping your own bees.  You can purchase everything (prebuilt and ready to set in place) for around $500.  This is a learning journey for me, so I wanted to build my own hive bodies (as much as it makes sense).  Because these are living creatures, and there is a learning curve involved with caring for them, I did decide to spend a little extra and get a “nuc” instead of just a box o’ bees and queen to significantly reduce the risk of failing at my first hive attempt.  Prices vary, but I worked with a very reputable local keeper, and got an established “nuc” for about $150.  That’s about 5 frames full of bees, with a queen they have already accepted.

 

I will put in a plug to Earpsboro Bees here for being absolutely great with helping a newbie get up and running.

Fast forward three weeks, and I’ve now added the second level to the hive body.  Photos below of how well the bees have built out the first 10 panels.

http://ncfreakygeek.tumblr.com/post/145165378052/bees-have-really-gone-to-town-on-building-out

Hopefully their growth stays stable, and I’ll be adding the (smaller) honey mediums soon.  May post the building process and additional photos then.