Hello ATS ,
I started my own Bee hive last weekend. With the current predicament of Honey Bees in the
world today, I have chosen this "Fragile Earth" Forum. Unfortunately we are all being tested by the powers
of nature, and the foolishness of man these days.While we cannot always prevent these events, we can do
our part to at least try to positively influence our immediate community. We as individuals have to set root somewhere. What better place to create a
solid foundation than in our own back yard? For those of us who
do not have our own backyard, we can still create a solid foundation in the back of our own minds. For it is
there that we can store knowledge and ideas until we reach the point where we can materialize these concepts,
or at least confidently share them with our friends,neighbors, and ultimately, the world at large.
So, now that you know where I am coming from,philosophy aside, I will share my recent experience with "The Bees".
First off, I did as much research over last winter as I could get my fingers on.
This led me in the direction of a "Top Bar" Bee Hive instead of the traditional "Langstroff" type.
This was personal choice, and due to the recent problems with carry over contamination, I decided
to attempt a fresher approach. Another appealing aspect was that for less than 100 bux I could get a kit
and plans to build my own. I would really recommend this to you crafty ATS folks out there.
Secondly, I ordered a colony of bees which is 15-20,000 worker bees and 1 Queen. In hind site, I think
I may have made a mistake there, as I did not procure Bees from my geographic region. So , genetically,
they may not have the instincts to prepare the colony for the harsh winter conditions here.
We shall see.
Now , I have chosen to Not use any chemical "treatments" to protect the bees.
They are on their own. I chose the hardiest strain that I could find, and that is nature for you.
I ordered a chunk of beeswax, the upper half of a Bee Keepers suit, and an iron tool for working on the
honey combs,brood combs,pollen combs,etc. Bought 10 pounds of pure cane sugar, and that's it.
Well I left the "bee suit" in its original plastic package in the garage, but that did not deter some field mice
from making a winter home out of it. They chewed it up pretty bad, in such a way, that when I unfolded it,
there were random holes and detriment every which way. A real jigsaw puzzle with big pieces missing.
Next, the queen cage which is a separate little cage inside the larger cage that the colony was shipped in,
(the same shape, but slightly shorter than a stick of butter) was not where it was supposed to be.
The metal strip that holds it in place was cut. So the Queen was INSIDE the swarm of 20,000 bees.
I must say I was somewhat intimidated by this. So much so, that by the time I had worked my hand into this
swarming mass and retrieved the Queen cage, attached a new metal strip,used some thumbtacks to secure it to the 3rd top bar, and got my tail out of
there, I later realized that I forgot to even check on the status of the Queen. Right There was my FAIL. Because, the first thing you are suppose to
do, is check if the Queen is Alive.
Hellhounds. Well anyway, I filled the bowls with sugar water to keep them satisfied until the Spring blooms.
The Apple blossoms should be fully popped over the next week or two. Instructions said to remove the Queen
cage in 2 days and feed again in one week. Well the queen was still in there two days later, as the bees wouldn't
let me get near her. But...the food was empty, so I filled that up. Went back today, and the queen cage was
empty, but halfway incorporated into a wax mass honeycomb. Wish me luck being the handler of that one
Lastly, a wandering tribe of carpenter ants decided to make a home for themselves under the lid .
They want that sugar water too I guess. I always thought they preferred wet rotten wood.
There you have it: Difficult Beginnings. All part of the process.
Speaking of which, I have some photos that I tried to upload to ATS for this thread, but every time I clicked
"Upload Photo" I got a lag/white screen. I asked the staff about it, but if you folks can offer any advice, I would
So there it is, an ongoing process. I will add updates as the season advances. If I can answer any questions,
or if any of you have some suggestions, by all means speak up.
Happy Spring ATS