Making the first cut.
After I purchased a starter hive box with some basic frames last summer, my Husband got the big idea to make his own hives. After all, they look simple enough, and he has ALL the tools. Simple right? From that moment there was no stopping him, and before I knew it the basement was full of sheets of pine, and the table saw was working overtime. The project was slow to progress over the winter, however, with Bee Season fast approaching here on the West Coast, time is now of the essence.
Thankfully he is a mathematician and knows his way around a power tool, the hive boxes rapidly came together, the frames were pumped out like a production line and the box joins are meticulous.
We now have stacks of hives, filled with frames and foundations piled up in our basement. My Husband has been spending his evenings at a beekeeping course to broaden his knowledge and prepare for getting our first hive (or two) of bees! I on the other hand, am busy preparing these new hives to paint. I’ve got some good ideas, but it is going to be a LOT of work.
Finished boxes ready for paint.
Assembling the hive boxes.
A stickler for details.
After we decided that the Beekeepers Association wasn’t for us, I was beginning to wonder where we would meet beekeepers willing to share their experiences. I specifically am interested in local knowledge from people raising bees in our West Coast climate. Who does one talk to, to get good, solid, local information?
Earlier this month, I went to a local feed/tack store, which has a great selection of beekeeping supplies. My intent was to pick up a few starter items as a gift for my husband, to start him off assembling his first hive. I stood there for some time looking at the confusing array of items to consider – suits; queen excluders; supers; frames; tools, you name it, they had it and I had no idea where to begin. Then, in walked a customer, a beekeeper to be exact. We struck up a conversation, and he kindly provided a lot of helpful information. During this time, another customer arrived and joined the conversation…and just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, in walks the owner of a local honey bee farm, Babes Honey! Suddenly I had the undivided attention of three experienced beekeepers and an opportunity to ask all kinds of questions!
Our first hive purchase.
When all was said and done, we spent about an hour talking and I received so much information that I can’t possibly remember it all. They helped me pick out a super and set of pre-made frames, and advised me on what kind of queen excluder to get.
So now I know. If I need any questions answered, I’ll just head to the Beekeeping section of Buckerfields. If I hang around long enough, the answers will just come to me.