Thursday, February 5, 2009
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.