Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Bees Knees

We have had on our "to do" list for a couple of months now, the setting up of the beehive.   Check it off the list!!!  Finally!  We just never seemed to have enough time or energy, but it is now behind us and we await the arrival of the Sopranos in a couple of weeks.

I stained the hive rather than painting it, because I have more stain than I do paint, and I like how stain works against moisture versus paint.  I didn't need to prime and then put on several coats of paint either.  I used a light color stain.

There are two reasons they recommend paint (typically white);  wood protection and heat deflection from the sun.  Since it's hot here in Central Florida more than it is cold,  we put our hive under a set of trees for maximum shade.  While it is still "dappled" sunlight, and the hive will get some morning sun to get the bees motivated, it will spend the bulk of it's time shaded.  Because of this, we should be able to get away using stain, versus paint.   We did not stain the inside of the hive.  It's a big No, No.  No paint, no stain inside.

The Moose and I picked a location on the other side of the property, away from the garden, camper and the Hooligans, and near the canal that runs along our property.  Bees need access to water.  They use it to help cool the hive and thin out the honey when needed.  They have workers that do nothing but collect water all day long.

Our Top Bar Hive, was easy to assemble, and after we were finished it's perfectly level from front to back and side to side.  Bees will build their honeycomb perfectly "plumb" and if your hive isn't plumb it will become nearly impossible to remove the honeycomb at harvest time.  It will appear as if they didn't build it correctly.   They did, you didn't.

The hive faces southeast, so the first rays of sunshine enter the hive.  No "burning daylight", the sooner they get up and going, the more honey they produce.  Facing southeast also keeps the cold north winds at the back of the hive during the few months we call winter.

One other issue we face in Florida is ants, ants and more ants.  You name them, we've likely got them.  We had the hive up for only a few minutes and they were already investigating.  A trick of the trade is to place the legs in containers of motor oil.  The ants (so they tell us) can not cross the oil to reach the legs, and climb up into the hive.  Ants are huge robbers of  honey.

The only thing I want to do yet is place a good layer of mulch around to help keep weeds and tall grass from the hive, so I have easy access to work with the hive, and view their antics through their large picture window.

Yeah, one down and ??? to go!


  1. Wow! I didn't know any of that. But I have never considered doing bees either. I like bees they just don't like me and one trip to the hospital was enough for me. I would like to figure out a way to help out our native bumble bee though. I like them. They are such gentle bumblers.

  2. Sista,

    We have some bumble bees too. They sound like a boat motor in the distance, but they're right above your head. It's amazing to me, that something this size, makes such a big noise. They are quite nosey.


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