Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bees. And keeping them.

Last night, I went to my first ever bee keeping class. The guy I'll be getting my hive from was the speaker. I could have listened to him all night. But I had to leave at 8:30 because I still had a goat to milk.

So now, after hearing him, I think I am more nervous and anxious than ever. I don't really think I was nervous before. Just more excited. But now I am just plain ole scared! Not OF the bees themselves. I love bees. Always have. I can sit right in the middle of a corn field and pick beans and listen to them buzz around me all day. I love them! They are awesome amazing little creatures. And I learned a lot about them last night. But even Eddie, after years and years of keeping bees, doesn't know all there is to know about them. They are just plain awesome!

I am more afraid of KEEPING bees. The responsibility of having those beautiful bees here, on my property. And keeping them healthy and happy. I so hope they will be happy here. There is so much all around here for them to keep busy. 2 whole mountain ranges, woods, forests, fields, ponds... SO much for them in this valley. So not really worried about that too much.

I'm not even afraid of being stung. Because Eddie says we WILL be stung. But it is good for arthritis. Which a few of my fingers are starting to feel. So maybe I won't wear gloves.

So this is where I will keep the hives. Up at the top of the hill, in that corner. It's a North-West corner, so they will be protected from winds and have the afternoon shade from the west. There is a lot of wild mint over in the pasture to the left. I heard mint keeps mites away? I will probably put some pots of mint in the bee yard. Since my goats are in this pasture, I'll fence in this corner.

I have always wanted bees here. And especially now, since every year I have seen fewer and fewer bees here on my property. Since I am organic and don't use any chemicals, I think they'll do a great job pollinating all my apple and pear trees. And my gardens. I think I'll go up to an organic farm in Tn. and get some of their organic open-pollinated corn and plant that in the other garden area, just for them. I will also plant lots and lots of flowers for them to enjoy.

I was told that the first year, I won't get honey. But that's fine with me. I will let the bees have all they need. I am not really concerned with getting honey. I just want the bees here.

I would LOVE to hear from all you bee keepers out there. Anything about bees. Your first experience with bees.


Kristin said...

Given my current mood, I'm probably the last person to give advice on beekeeping.

All I can say is....they're hard. I've lost 2/3 hives since I started2 years ago. My friend who got into bees had the same failure rate her first year.

I am buying 2 more packages this spring as one final attempt. I really have a lot invested in this and I want it to work out. Ideally, I need 2 strong hives so that I can compare them to each other and use them to support each other. For example, if one hive loses a queen and has no brood (as happened to me last year), I can give them brood from the other to try to raise up a new queen.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that in your wonderful mountain paradise you have an earier time than I've had.

Kris said...

I'm so sorry you've lost your bees. That's my biggest fear is having them all die on me or else flying away to another hive. There are some hives up the road about 5 miles from me. And with the mountains and all, I hope they do well here. But I guess it's a gamble any way you do it. I had heard that you really need 2 hives. I did call him and asked for another hive so I'll have 2. I wish you the best of luck on your new bees.

An At Home Daughter said...

I don't have any bees myself, but we have a bee guy that keeps some of his hives here. Me and my mom keep an eye on the hives and make sure ants aren't getting into them. They can take over a hive really fast. When my mom used to have bees when I was little, she kept the hives on blocks that sat in a tray of water to help keep the ants out.
What ever you do, don't wear Burts Bees herbal deoderant around them. Thats how my mom got stung. It makes them really angry. They go crazy over the stuff, and chase us around the yard.

Kristin said...

Yes, ants are a big problem. I keep the legs of my stand in paintbuckets of water. I have to put those pond tablets in the buckets to keep mosquitoes from breeding in them. When my "moats" run dry, the ants invade! Sometimes the ants make bridges over the water out of fallen leaves or drowned bees. I have to pick all the debris out of the water with a stick.

Kris said...

Thank you both for reminding me of the ants. A friend who is also getting bees, is making a mote for his hives. And where I am going to put the bees, up in the far corner, has a huge fire ant hill right under the fence wire. I still have about 3 weeks before I get them, so I have found the only way to actually kill fire ants is with gas. So I'll do that in the morning. And I'll get Lynn to make something for me too.

We have awful bad fire ants here. All over. And those little tiny ants that we always called piss ants. They love my bathroom and kitchen. I just had some get in the bathroom just last week.