Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Countdown to Bee Day!

It’s countdown to Bee Day!    Ship date is May 15th, and I’m ready!  I have my supplies;

·         Crazy white outfit, with gloves and headdress (may also wear on Halloween)

·         Top bar hive

·         Organic beeswax to coat the bars

·         Honey to feed them for the first few days

Funny story, sorry to interrupt the flow, I stopped by a local honey supplier to pick up a small bottle of local honey.   I need it to feed my bees, for a short time while they get established.  The purveyor, an old surly man came out to help.  I asked for a small bottle of honey to feed my new bees next week.  He kind of snickered at me, gave me one of those “yeah right, you’re gonna handle bees” kind of looks, then proceeded to stand there as I looked through his shelves.  I was interested to see all the different things he produces from his honey, and I noticed some antique smokers and asked if he sold equipment for backyard beekeepers. He seemed perturbed and then he proceeded to tell me that I could get away cheaper by giving my bees sucrose instead of honey.  I kindly told him, no, my bees would have good old fashioned honey. 
I’ve read a lot on honey bees, and have watched a fantastic DVD from  They take a holistic approach to raising bees.  FYI, their site is chock-full of information and well worth a visit.  Since more and more details come out about Colony Collapse Disorder and the possible connections to the use of pesticides and unnatural practices, I don’t want to use sugar water.  Bees don’t eat sugar water in nature, so why change the natural way of things if you don’t have to.   I’m sure other bees have done just fine with sugar water, but we’re making an effort to go as natural as possible with all our food sources.  It’s not always possible, but we try and make the attempt.
He sold me a 12 oz. bottle of wild flower honey for $5.00. I can understand he thinks I'm just another link in the chain of reasons why business gets harder each day, but I think he's missing out on an opportunity to increase his business, by offering items or classes in beekeeping for backyard hobbyists.  Maybe I'll have to start something on my own.  Something to ponder...

·         Top Bar Tool, for scrapping off comb and propolis from the sides of the hive so we can harvest and inspect the honeycomb.

·         Herding Tool, to move the bees off the comb and back into the hive.

·         3lb hive with queen ordered and shipping next week

What’s missing from my list you ask besides Benedryl?  A smoker.  I am going to try and not use one.  Again, it’s the holistic approach, and when using a Top Bar Hive is rarely, if ever needed.  The hive is structured differently than a Langstroth hive, and use of smoke doesn’t actually calm bees down.  It sends them into “recover” mode and they begin to gorge on honey.  The smoke sends a trigger that they might have to evacuate the hive, so eat as much as you can before leaving, so you have something to live off of, until you find your new home.   
I'm excited and nervous at the same time,  but I think we're well on our way, wish me luck!

Pictures of the items are from the site where I purchased them from. I am not getting paid for the reference.


  1. One of these days, when I get a better location, I'm going to have to try this.

  2. My FIL kept bees years ago. One year my husband borrowed his garb, and went as the beekeeper and I as a bumble bee. Come to think of it, it was probably around the time of the killer bees on Saturday Night Live.

  3. Awesome! Can't wait to see these post. I am so glad you are doing it with honey. I have always thought feeding Sucrose was a weird way to feed bees. Kind of like feeding cows corn when they are suppose to have grass. Or feeding sugar cubes to your kids because they are hungry. Not very nutritious. Have fun, take lots of pictures, and good luck!

  4. Thanks Matt, DFW and Sista for following along! The bees will likely become my new obsession, so there'll be lots of photos.


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