Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bees-N-Me



Last night in bee class, a man brought in kits and taught us how to put together our hives. We brought our hammers (see my pretty flowery one) and snapped pieces together and hammered them tight and nailed them securely and then put a piece of wax in them. These little frames are what the bees use as a foundation for their work and where they build their combs and leave their honey.

A bee hive is several boxes (called Supers) filled with these frames. The bottom two or three supers contain the bees' honey and on top of those, we will put "honey boxes" for the excess--our honey!

I have to order my supplies by this weekend and have decided to go with medium supers because loaded with comb and honey they will weigh 60 pounds as opposed to the deeper, more traditional supers that will weigh 100 pounds. I think 60 pounds is all I want to be tossing around into a wheelbarrow, so we'll go with the smaller ones. Using the medium supers, I will have three rather than two for the bees' use and hopefully a whole lot for my use--honey--yummmmmy. (Note to self: re-read Winnie the Pooh and Too Much Honey)

We also learned that in Maine we should paint the hives a non-traditional dark color Most hives are painted white and that is to assist the bees in keeping their hive cool. But the hive temperature stays around 95 degrees and in Maine we don't have very many days where the temperature is over 90 so by painting the hive a darker color we can assist the bees in their heating.

I am ordering Italian bees. They are recommended as docile and hardy and the experienced beekeepers in our class all recommend them.

The bees will be in on April 11 and we have eight classes between now and then for me to learn everything I can.

Stay tuned!

21 comments:

The Texican said...

That is a real sissy hammer. I wouldn't show it to any carpenters. You can tell if you get real Italian bees by the sound of their buzz. American bee - buzz buzz buzz. Italian bee - buzza buzza buzza. Mom's brother is still alive and he is a recognized expert if you run into problems. Pappy

Beth said...

Thanks, Tex. I will have him on speed dial--tell him if he gets a call from the 207 area code and a woman is screaming on the other end--it's me in a bee induced panic.

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Holy cow! You're ordering italian bees! Will we see your bees on a fly-by through the neighborhood? I wonder if our gardens will bloom a little fuller? Do italian bees prefer tomato and basil plants? (We still planning to plant a vegetable garden this summer, so inquiring minds need to know!)

Ruth said...

What a great hobby you are exploring. I had to laugh at your Winnie the Pooh reference. Proverbs 25:16 says, "If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit."
Solomon must have overindulged too!

Loveanewidea said...

This is such a cool new experience! Can't wait to hear all the stories about it as it progresses.

Beth said...

Katie, I am planning to keep the hives at my parents' place in Sumner--more room, more flowers, bigger vegetable garden, etc. BUT if you are interested you can still join the class and start your own hives!

Ruth, A.A. Milne and Solomon--can't get much more wisdom that those two.

Loveanewidea, stay tuned--I'm sure the story will be fraught with surprises and a few ouches!

egretsnest said...

Really enjoying watching your progress through the bee world. Can't wait to hear how it goes!

beth said...

totally cool...I can't wait to watch this experience !!!

Kallen305 said...

I have been looking forward to hearing how this is going. It all sounds so exciting!! What are you going to do w/ all of the honey once you start getting it?

Carey's Corner said...

I was going to comment about the hammer also, but Tex beat me to it.
I bet your tool box is a kaleido-scope of colors. I heard that Italian bees produce a honey with a hint of garlic flavor. Keep us posted.

beckie said...

Beth, this is so interesting. I wish you lots of fun while you are learning. Keep us informed as well. (Love the hammer!)

KGMom said...

You can ORDER bees? Now, I've heard all. Do Italian bees come from. . .Italy?
This is a whole unknown subject to me.

KaHolly said...

I like your hammer. I have a girlie hammer, too, altho' it wears traditional hammer dress, not flowers. Good luck with your new hobby! I've always wanted to keep bees. Unfortunately, I'm a gypsy and never in one place long enough. Hey, Tex, where in TX are you? I lived there for several yrs. and my daughter still does. Right about now, I miss it. Maine's been a little too cold for too long for this transplant!

Jayne said...

How exciting Beth! Can't wait to see the story of this unfold and to see that first biscuit dripping with your very own backyard honey! :c)

Carey's Corner said...

I had a wonderful visit with your folks. They looked well and were enjoying the warmer weather a few more days. BTW- they laughed about the hammer and said they got that for you.

June said...

This is so utterly cool! My daughter kept bees for quite a while with her boys and they really learned a lot. The honey was delicious. She had to learn from books, mostly. This training should help you avoid many problems. Italian bees are supposed to be the ticket. Good luck!

Ngaio said...

Hi Beth - I know you will love beekeeping - I do !! I will watch your progress - pop into my 2 blogs if you like, one is my beekeeping diary and the other for bits and pieces.

RuthieJ said...

Good luck to you Beth. I was hoping to get some beehives this year but unfortunate circumstances will delay my beekeeping adventures. I look forward to hearing more about yours!

LauraHinNJ said...

Gosh... this sounds like so much fun! I've always wanted to try my hand with bees.

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, I apparently missed out on a lot. Glad you put in labels so I could find these posts easily! You are positivley beaming in the first photo. Oh, I do hope you have fun and don't get stung!