Saturday, April 5, 2008

School of Bees. My first class...

So my brother convinced me that I should get a bee hive this year. The hive is on order and should be delivered in a week or two. Today I went to a Beginners Bee Keeping class at Trees n' Bees in Auburn Washington.

It's a family run operation with about 50 hives. They do Christmas Trees half the year, and bees the other half. The seminar was from 9am-4pm. (I got there half an hour late of course...)

They have a bunch of bee keeping supplies - so that will be a great resource when I need some new boxes for the bees to make honey in.

They were saying that I may not get any honey out of a brand new hive this year. The bees have to fill up two boxes for food to make it through the winter. But if the conditions are right, I may be able to get a few pounds of honey by the end of the summer. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.

Since I'm still a novice bee keeper, I won't even try to go into depth on anything technical yet. Right now I'm reading Bee Keeping for Dummies. Here's a link if you're interested in Bee Keeping... this book is probably a really good place to start.

I did get a chance to buy my protective clothing today. I splurged and got the deluxe suit with the mask zipped right in and leather gloves. I think the suit was $99 and the gloves were $26 - well worth it if you ask me. I don't plan on getting stung too many times.

My only critique is that the hat part is too small. That makes the brim tip down in front of my face a lot. But I do have a gigantic head so it probably fits just fine for most people.

The best part of the day was when we went out and looked into some hives. I took some video with my camera.

This first one, we are looking at a comb honey box. In theory, the bees would fill these plastic boxes with comb honey, and you just peel the entire box out of the bigger piece and put a lid onto it. Pretty cool idea. They said that I probably couldn't get good results with a brand new hive, but I might try it next year.

The next video is from the same hive. It was by far the most active hive they had at this point in the year. This is one of the wooden frames out of the brood hive box. This is the part of the hive that would house the queen and enough honey to keep a healthy hive alive through the winter.

The final video I took was of the smoker. You use smoke to distract the bees away from you. When the bee smells smoke, they think the forest is on fire, and they rush into the hive to load up on some honey in case they have to flee. I thought this was really interesting.

Here are some other pics from class today. One thing I did confirm is that I'm going to have to build a fence to protect the hive from bears.

See you next time.