Honey Bees Are Here

the arrival of our first hive
If anyone actually keeps tabs on our crazy story, then you’d know I surprised Rich with his first nuc of honey bees for Christmas. Since I’d have nothing to physically give him, I also bought a bee suit and a couple books to get him started (If your interested in the books I choose you can find them here: The Bees In Your Backyard, The Beekeeper’s Bible, & The Backyard Beekeeper – there are pros and cons to each but we’ll save that for another post). 

As the end of April neared, we realized it was time to get busy on building our first hive. We get a lot of questions on why we decided to build our own. The answer is simple: because we can.

Is that too blunt? I think a lot of people are hesitant to just start, but we have all the tools, wood and one heck of a dude that’s more than capable of building a beehive – so why not? The next statement we usually hear is “but you’re already doing so much”. Yeah, we are, but when something’s important you find the time. Rich, already captivated by the idea of having bees immersed himself in the process and made the time for this crucial element to our farm. 


Why We Decided To Add Bees To Our Farm

Our property is a haven for the honey bees with an orchard, blueberry field, garden and acres of thriving wild plants. We understand that the bee population directly impacts our food source, and want to be good stewards to their livelihood.

Not to mention, honey.

What To Expect With Your Nuc

We opted for a Nuc since this is our first hive. The Nuc comes with 5 frames, giving you a foundation to establish your hive. We took a beekeeping class, and while Rich had already read through the information, I personally learn so much better seeing the set-up and being walked through it in person. I highly recommend taking a class if one is offered in your area!

We received the date our Nuc would be ready and made the drive for pick-up. Honestly I was a little nervous for the drive, considering there’s only thousands of bees humming in a small white box. Despite my concern everyone made it home safe and sound.

Hiving the bees, Rich suited up as a precaution but as my uncle put it best “no home, no honey, no sting. The bees were surprisingly docile as we carefully moved each frame into the the new hive body. The 5 frames set in the middle with 2 new frames on one side and 3 new frames on the other. We created a feeder out of quart mason jar, poking a few holes through the lid with a push pin, then added a 1:1 solution of sugar water. We place the minimizer in front of the entrance and sat back to watch them begin buzzing back and forth. 

 

Fast forward about a week, and something didn’t seem right. You’re not suppose to check your hive for at least two weeks after install, but we had heard some hives were already swarming. While ours weren’t showing signs of a swarm, Rich’s better instinct knew something was wrong inside. When we installed our frames we saw larva and capped brood, but didn’t really notice eggs. We shrugged it off as something we probably overlooked due to the excitement of our install. However, that week Rich decided to open the hive up and search for eggs – a sure sign we had a queen and she was doing her job. Only to our surprise, there were no eggs, and no emergency queen cells. 

Even if you know nothing about bees, I’m sure you can grasp the concept that no queen means your hive isn’t growing. We reached out to Great Lake Bee Supply with our concern, and after a few questions they told us to bring our hive out for a swap.

Now if driving a nuc home isn’t nerve racking enough try a whole hive body! We drove out, and confirmed we had no queen, which was one of the main reasons our bees were so docile. We swap the frames around, loaded back up and headed home. Now two more weeks and we’ll take another look but so far all signs point to a thriving hive!

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