Friday, April 16, 2010

A new beekeeper

This afternoon I drove to Pocahontas, Iowa to pick up my first box of bees. I've been excited for weeks to get my hive up and going. I've done quite a bit of research and was pretty confident about being able to get the bees into the hive. That isn't to say I wasn't nervous, because I certainly was. Brian said he would be happy to be my photographer, but didn't really want anything else to do with the "getting-the-bees-into-the-hive" process. Thankfully I've made some good connections here in Iowa with the local chapter of the Iowa Beekeepers Association and my Uncle Larry is a fantastic resource, having raised bees for many, many years.

I received some good advice from Uncle Larry earlier today when he told me that when transporting bees in my car to be sure that none were loose as they would be a "distraction" during the journey. Good advice because when I was handed my package of bees there were about 30 bees on the outside of the box. I brushed them away before putting the whole thing into the car (the bees on the outside of the package were pretty sure they wanted to come too and were most upset about being left behind). Thankfully none escaped during the ride and we made it home in one piece.

The bees upon arriving home. Bzzzzzzzz.............
Three pounds of bees- a standard box (about 10,000). Here's the location on our property where the bees are going to live. They'll get early sun, afternoon shade, and are a good distance from both the neighbor's house and any fields. Here I am getting final things ready before starting the process. The first thing I did after arriving home was to give the bees a good drink of sugar water. Once I was ready to put them into the hive I gave them another coating so they would have something to eat and would fly around less once they were out of their box. Ready! It was really windy outside, which made the veil difficult to use. I wore it most of the time, but took it off towards the end of the process. Won't do that again (thanks for the advice, Uncle Larry), but I'll probably not attend to my bees on a windy day either. Unfortunately we have more windy days than calm days around here. Good lesson learned. Getting the feeding container off and the queen bee into the hive. After shaking the bees into the bottom super. Ta-da! And no stings! Welcome home bees! Everything went really smoothly, although I did have a major concern about my queen. After a frantic email to Uncle Larry (and a quick call back from him!), I think everything will be okay. I'll check back in a week and see how the hive is doing. I'll be sure to update our blog and let you all know how things are going.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcoming Spring

Spring has finally arrived here in Iowa. Temperatures have gotten into the 70s and all the snowdrifts are gone.

Our first flowers of the year.Rhubarb. Burning the weeds from our seed-starting box. Cleaning out part of the garden. We'll be ready to start planting in the coming weeks, so there will be plenty to blog about. Oh, and my bees arrive next Wednesday! Stay tuned...

Bunny Damage

A bit of bunny damage from this winter. Easy to see where the snowline was (and grew) over the winter. Crazy rabbits.