Reading many books and attending Beekeeping 101 and 201 from Tilth seem to have prepared us (Al) quite well for keeping bees. Al suits up to tend to the bees, and Atticus and I take the pictures (we go “suitless,” but for reasons evident from the below, Atticus has requested a suit for next season). We started with two queens (one Carniolan and one Italian) and two containers of 10,000 bees each. (Thanks, Mom, for picking those “mystery packages” up for us, no questions asked).
The bees arrive in a buzzing box. They must be transferred to the hive, then the Queen carefully inserted. We put a marshmallow in the Queen’s temporary capsule, locking her in for a few days (as the bees gradually eat away) for protection and adjustment to the hive.
We had one hive (Paddington) die out, but only after, or in conjunction with, a swarm. We managed to capture the swarm and start a new hive (Yogi), which made it through the summer, and still seems to be doing just fine (although we didn’t extract any honey from it). The other hive (Pooh) has been thriving since day one, and even as winter is wrapping up, it seems to be alive.
In upcoming weeks, Al may provide some insight on the challenges and intricacies of keeping bees, along with product recommendations. For now, here’s a few photos of what, so far has been, a pretty successful first year of keeping bees.