Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hive Inspection

I was invited to go with a fellow club member to inspect a couple of hives. I really appreciate this, it really helps the learning. He was checking on a requeening to see if she was making any new brood. It looked like she was, although hard to see. No smoke. I wore my new suit without a glitch. This owner had several feeders away from the hives for the bees to feed on, since we have been so dry around here. She also had a nice plastic shed for all of the bee equipment. The hives had the covers slid back slightly for some air circulation

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wow - Fast shipping

I ordered the stuff below on Wednesday evening and had it at the end of the day on Thursday - talk about fast shipping!

I tried on my jacket - and I think it will be great. I have been invited to inspect a fellow club members hive on Saturday, so I'll get to use it and see.

My smoker did not come with a cork - is this normal?

First Cash Outlay

OK, so I bit the bullet and placed an order or some supplies. I have been invited to watch some other beeks work their hives so I needed some protection. Again, after several posts and replies on the forums I've purchased the following from Dadant:

V01200 - Cotton/Poly Zipper Jacket with Hooded Veil
Unless you are doing a lot of removals - it didn't seem necessary to get a full suit. I like the look of the hooded veil, we'll see if it is as functional as the normal wide brim hat.

M00927 - Smoker, 4x7, Stainless Steel with Sheild
The nonstainless ones appear to degrade rapidly and the shield is just a saftey issue for me. It is the normal rather than the large size - we'll see.

M00856 - Maxant Hive Tool
I am not sure if this fancy hive tool is really necessary, I'll give a report back as some time.

I will say that each of the suppliers I called were extremely helpful for this novice. Dadant had what I needed at a good price and there is a store in the state. I should get this stuff by the end of the week!


So, I decided to learn about beekeeping - I immediately went to the web and Googled beekeeping. Lots of hits. I found some commercial beekeeping operations, folks that sold beekeeping equipment, some online forums and links to some local beekeeping clubs - I'll put the best of these on the sidebar shortly. The best thing was to connect with the local beekeeping club. I started emailing two members and they both invited me to their meeting.

The beekeeping club was an informal gathering of the local beekeepers (or beeks) swapping stories and lessons learned. There are some folks in this group with large quantities of hives and many years of experience and then there are also some beginners like me. I have made a connection with a few of them and hope to learn from their experience.

Perhaps the largest ingestion of knowledge has come from the beekeeping forums. These are a great place to ask questions (almost anonymously) and get a great variety of answers. This community is very interested in helping use "newbees" succeed and I have found them very friendly. After reading a bunch of posts, I put a question online about what equipment I needed to buy to start out and got some fantastic advice.


As a kid I lived on a farm, raised chickens in my bedroom (eventually moved them to the barn), collected eggs, raised ducks, rabbits and even a skunk!

Well its been a while since I was a kid, and living in suburbia does not give me much opportunity to have a farm - but I am stretching the definition.

I am in the process of starting up at beekeeping. It is something I have been interested in for years, but never "got around to it." I live on about an acre, my wife has done an amazing job creating a back yard full of plants, flowers and even a Koi pond (I help a little).

[My granddaughter "enjoying" the flowers]

So, I thought I'd document my progress, for others that may want to dip their toes into this "hobby," and frankly to have a place to keep some records of what I am doing. I would love your comments or even questions.