Monday, 20 January 2014
Preparing for Bees
Oh my goodness, my mind is BUZZING following a 16 hour Level One weekend beekeeping course. The pun was very much intentional (sorry, I couldn't help myself!).
Eliese Watson of Apiaries and Bees for Communitites (in Calgary) came up to teach us 19 Edmontonians how to prepare for and keep bees in both urban and rural settings. AWESOME learning is all I have to say. Eliese knows her stuff (and then some) and as the founder of A.B.C, she works TIRELESSLY to bring bees, people and communities together.
We learned all about the features of Top Bar and Langstroth hives as well as PLENTY of information about bees and bee behaviour. Bee colonies are simply amazing - they are one of just a few species that live as a super organism rather than as individuals. Fascinating stuff!
Eliese has designed a lid for a Top Bar hive to facilitate super-ing. It works very well and allows for stacking Top Bar Hives. The plastic grill is a queen excluder.
Below, you'll see an open Langstroth Hive.
and here it is with a super on it and a queen excluder.
I'm so excited to get bees, I can hardly stand it (although I'm truthfully more than a little nervous about making mistakes and killing my bees!). I committed in spite of my fear and bought plans for making Top Bar hives. Hubby and I are hoping to get cracking on them pretty soon. We have lots of scrap plywood to build them out of so the cost should be minimal. Just time, really...
Can you see that strange looking tool on the plans? That's a hive tool for working a Top Bar Hive. Eliese had them made up through a friend and she's really happy with the design.
Isn't it bee-utiful? You use it by sliding the L-shaped end down the inside wall of the hive to separate any wax that's adhering to the side wall (sometimes the bees will attach wax right to the inside wall of the hive).
I've got lots of reading to do to prepare for the season in addition to making the hives. Wish me luck!