What I wish I had known as a NewBeek
I have the most fantastic daughter-in-law.
She happened to see me pop off on social media about wanting bees and a Little Giant deluxe beekeeping kit at Atwoods.
So, my birthday, they got me the kit from Atwoods, then at Christmas, they got me another 10-frame deep.
Sooo, on 4/30/2021, we picked up my bees. My nuc (nucleus) was 4 frames in a cardboard box with a bright yellow plug. My bee supplier said to
unplug the nuc when I got them home (it was about 11pm Friday when we got home - 120+ miles from where we picked up the bees) & to wait until it was warm to move them.
It rained all day Saturday but Sunday was nice so we moved the frames from the nuc into the bottom deep on Sunday evening just before dark.
This photo was from Sunday before we moved them.
Things I wish I'd known before my first hive:
What do you wish you'd known before your first hive?
- to attend as many beekeeper meetings as possible before getting my nuc
(list of Texas associations starting with Texas Beekepers Association, which is challenging given my schedule and the BA meeting schedules.
- what a nuc was... and, why they may be better for newbees than package bees...check these glossaries: Better Bee,
- I had done a lot of reading so I knew the parts of the hive but before getting bees, it is really important to know the
parts of a bee hive and,
I should have used only 1 deep body, not both of them that I had. Just because you have the woodware does not mean it needs to be used.
- what is a bee, and what is not a bee?
- where to get bees: when is the best time to order them & when is the best time to move them to the hive (spring,
and local if possible, join a local club for nuc referrals. Get your nuc early in the morning or late in the evening.
Have your hive body ready for them to move in - my nosy girls started moving in before I moved the nuc frames over -
TIP: put a drop of lemongrass essential oil inside your hive body.
- best places for equipment or supplies in east Texas: Texas Bee Supply in Farmersville,
Mann Lake in Marshall, Dadant in Paris
- books & magazines, newsletters: Bee Culture and American Bee Journal
- classes on managing a honeybee colony
- what to do about swarms (who to refer to for swarms with non-bee(k) people) - removals of colonies are not free unless you find a local who wants the hive but
they are not likely to be insured/bonded/etcetera so it is best to engage a pro like the ones on this list
if the swarms invades a building
Second inspection almost a month after bringing the girls home:
Beekeeping resources that I love - I am required by Amazon to let you know that the photos or links that you click on below are Amazon affiliate links...
||For the bees
||For the beekeeper
|The Backyard Beekeeper - this book is by one of the podcasters in my playlist, Honey Bee Obscura
| Small Hive Beetle traps - I put one in each box with diatomaceous earth in the traps
Beekeeper Toolbox - I do not use all the tools in this kit - I do not use the brush, the frame puller, or the hive tool (see the hive tool below)
|The Beekeepers Bible
| 10-frame boxes are HEAVY when full of bees/honey (beekeepers should ALL be under chiropractic care) so I am switching to 8-frame this year (in spite of getting adjusted every 7-14 days...)
|| Ventilated suit - it is HOT in Texas during the summer and hard to hydrate when you are suited up to work with your bees
|This book actually came with my Little Giant beginners beekeeping kit. I cannot tell you how many times I read it between my birthday last year & getting the bees in April 2021, but it was more than a few...
| Apimaye Insulated 7 Frame Langstroth Nuc - it's hot in the summer & bees get hot as well... I tell people we have two seasons in Texas, summer & February
| Since I switched to this type of gloves, my stings decreased to mostly none...
|Langstroth's Hive and the Honey-Bee
| Nuc transport bag -- you should have seen how we transported my nuc in April. It's amazing that I did not have a RAV4 full of bees...
|Get the Beekeeper Tools Box above but get THIS hive tool set
We did not make it through our first year. I checked the hive on a nice day the week before we left for a week at South Padre Island to celebrate our 40th anniversary. All looked good considering we had several hard freezes (thankfully, nothing like 2021). There was brood, young bees, and still plenty of honey stores - I did not harvest in my first year. Even with the honey stores, we expected inclement weather so I gave them some bee fondant. We went to SPI and I came home to a mostly dead hive. There were only about 20 live bees, there was still food. Bees appeared to be tending thier sisters and frozen in place. I was stunned as this freeze while we were gone was not as hard as the two earlier in the year.
Starting over in 2022 with 8-frame boxes...
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