Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part...

I was supposed to get my bees this coming week but due to bad weather down south, the shipment has been delayed. Bummer - but this is part of the deal. When the weather is nasty you can't really handle the bees and open the hives, so the bee supply companies have to wait for better weather before they can package and ship the bees. There has also been some flooding down south where my bees are coming from. This might not have been as much of a problem if I had found a local source of bees but I was unable to because I started looking too late and everyone was sold out. Anyway, hopefully the bees won't be more than a week or so later than expected.

In reality, the delay is probably good for me because I am not really ready for the bees yet. So I will have some extra time to prepare. I had to buy some extra hive components because what Vicco gave me will not be enough for two complete hives. Typically, the standard configuration for a hive is two "Deeps" (these are the biggest boxes) for brood production and then as many "Mediums" or "Shallows" as you need on top of the deeps for honey production. The boxes used for honey production are called "Supers" (because they are placed on top of the brood boxes). One issue with this set-up is that you are left with at least two different sizes of equipment - you will need deep frames and foundation for the deeps, and medium or shallow frames and foundation for the honey supers. So all of your equipment is not interchangeable. This is not to mention the issue of weight - a Deep that is full of honey weighs over 90 pounds, while a Medium full of honey weighs 60 pounds (still not lightweight, but better than 90 pounds). With all of this said, there is a growing trend towards using all of the same sized boxes.

So in the interest of keeping thing simple, my plan is to use all medium supers. I will start one hive with all medium supers (the package bees) and the other hive I will initially use two deeps and the rest mediums (the bees in the nuc will come on deep frames, so I will need to put them in deeps). Eventually, I will phase out the deeps (not sure how to do this yet, but...). I needed to buy some extra medium supers and frames and here is what I got -

Divvied up into bags - the pieces for the frames are in the bags - tops, bottoms and sides -

Here is my workspace down in the dungeon -

After I assemble all of the medium supers, I will prime and paint them and then they'll be ready to go. I also went up on the roof today to check out the place where I want to keep the hives. Looks like it should be fine and not too conspicuous - as long as my neighbor doesn't stick his head out of his bedroom back window too often!

So, here I wait...

1 comment:

  1. sounds like this may worth a trip east to come check out this operation (cause I need some more reasons to come back there)