In which we start an Apiary

This week, we dipped into apiculture.

Ryan has wanted bees for a long time, and recently a friend of a friend was getting rid of a swarm, and the friend wanted a road trip and picked them up for us. What service. We didn’t have alot of lead time, so Ryan ordered a hive (the whole time saying, ‘this would be so easy to make , why am I buying this’) and my brother sent his leftover hat/gloves/smoker.

So Ryan has his bees.

He built a platform for the hive on a Cherry stump.  We were going to use cinder blocks like everyone else, but this is much cuter.

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Bzzzzzz.  zzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzz. 10,000ish Italian Honey Bees stressing out in a crate.

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Our friend Stefan has had bees, so he came over to help with the transfer from crate to hive.  His youngest son was fascinated.

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Hive is ready to go. It is a hollow box with about 10 trays that slide in for the bees to lay eggs/make honey on. A few trays are left out at first to give you space to pour the bees.

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Popping out the tin can of sugar water from the opening and sliding a tray over the hole.
Can’t come out yet, little guys.  This whole time we’ve been periodically spraying the bees with sugar water.  It keeps them busy eating, and puts them in a food coma so they are easier to transfer.  It also makes them all stick together so you can pour them like jelly into the hive.

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Freedom at last! After putting the opened tiny cage holding the queen down into the hive, Ryan starting dumping her kingdom down to her.  It took quite a bit of shaking and banging to get them all out. They all fell in a stupor into the hive. Very few flew up into their faces.
The trick is to not let one sting you. If one stings you, the rest smell the dying bee’s pheromones, and come to the rescue…aka they all want to sting you. (This is why you smoke a hive, it gets in the way of the pheromone communications.)

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Putting a tray into the empty space without squishing any bees.
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And capping it off. DSC_0309

Now we just have to wait for them to settle into their new home and make us delicious honey.

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This morning there was just one guard bee at the entrance. DSC_0316I’m sure we’ll have lots of bee adventures to tell you about this summer. Hopefully none of which will involve stings.

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Adventures, Urban Farming

3 responses to “In which we start an Apiary

  1. Fascinating! Nick has always wanted to keep bees, too. So thrilled Ryan gets to live the dream . :) Send us some honey… better yet… deliver it! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
    Also.. we had a large swarm rest on our lilac bush in Lockwood one summer whilst deciding where to make their nest. It was about a foot wide and 2 feet long. We called a local guy from a Craigslist ad and he came with his son and “collected” them for us. Wished we would have had the settup for ourselves ready. He said they usually are only swarming for less than 24 hrs and then leave. It was exciting to watch the process. Free homeschool lesson, too.

    • Haha! Seriously perfect homeschool lesson. I hope I get to see one swarm someday, it’s such a fascinating process!
      As soon as we get honey (It might be a year or two) we’ll definitely have to hand-deliver it.

  2. dave

    Very cool – we’ll take a hand delivery too!! Or a hand pickup maybe? WE’ll trade you for some of your mom’s fudge – …………………..

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