Beekeeing Page

Description

At the end of 2009 I decided to buy my wife a beehive. She'd kept bees when she was younger. This is the tale of our beekeeping activities. There's a considerable amount to think about when setting up, rather more in fact than either of us realized as we began to look further into what would be needed. Equipment, colony location, care, feeding, ailments, seasonal activities and the possibility of a first year harvest all had to be considered.

Getting Started

Classes

We enrolled in the 2010 beginner beekeeper's class at the Montgomery County Beekeepers' Association. The class consisted of 9 sessions at the Montgomery County 4-H Center in Skippack, PA, with the warmer weather sessions including an hour in the bee yard with the club's two hives at the Center, followed by a couple of hours in the classroom. I highly recommend first year beekeepers enroll in such a course, not only for the instruction you'll receive but for the information you'll receive and share from your peers in the group.

Equipment

There's a minimum list of basic equipment that a beekeeper needs in order to get started. We started with a kit, from Betterbee, Assembled 10 Frame Beginners Kit with Large Gloves that included the following items: We also purchased full three beekeeping suits from Brushy Mountain, and two further pairs of gloves.

Equipment Refinements

There were one or two shortcomings with the beginner kit. By the end of the season:

2011 Equipment Changes

This year we will add a second colony. To that end, we bought a second hive kit from Betterbee, similar to the first but without the tools and protective equipment.

The additional hive consists of:

Based on lessons learned from last year, we also brought 2 spare deep boxes, two mediums and couple of extra shims (from Brushy Mtn). These are helpful for two reasons:

  1. During a hive inspection, when frames are being moved around, it's helpful to have a spare deep on hand. As you remove frames from the brood chamber, you transfer them to the spare deep. You do this because you're searching for the queen, and if you put them back in the original deep, she could move from an uninspected frame to an inspected one and you would not see her.
  2. A single deep can be placed on top of the inner cover when feeding sugar syrup from a deli-sized jar used as a bee feeder. We're hoping to pick up some of these extra large jars this year.

Season Notes

2010 Beekeeping Journal - notes in journal form of our first colony activities

2011 Beekeeping Journal - notes in journal form of the first and second colonies during the 2011 season

Approximate Year

2010

Category

PROJECT

Status

ACTIVE

Web Resources

Montgomery County Beekeepers' Association - great and highly-supportive organization providing classes and assistance in beekeeping.

2010 Beekeeping Journal - notes in journal form of our first colony activities

2011 Beekeeping Journal - notes in journal form of our second year beekeeping activities

Linda's Bees - frequently maintained and popular blog by an Atlanta, GA beekeeper

The Bee Journal - a great journal from a Canadian beekeeper

Bee Math from Bush Bees