Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The calm before the swarm....

     Ok, not really a swarm... but I pick up my bees on May 5th, a little delayed from the 21st we were supposed to pick up but that's OK too. It has actually given me a little more time to think about what I want to do. So many decisions to make. I know that I'm going with the Langstroth hive, but was unsure if I wanted med or deep supers. Let's face it, I'm not as strong as I used to be and honestly the thought of lifting full supers was daunting. Then we have had some challenges with closing out our business and me converting to stay home Mommy. Sometimes the best laid plans don't want to iron out right!
SO.... I ended up putting an appeal for a used or extra hive on Craig's list. LO and BEHOLD! Greg, the VERY same gentleman who owns Dakota Bees hit me back, he has a hive for me! He didn't even know it was me! Just out of the goodness of his heart. So, I would like to give him a total high five! I was worried I would't be able to have my hive, and now I will! I am CERTAINLY going to pay it forward by doing something VERY cool involving kids and a class once I get this bee thing going!
     Since I don't have anything really new to report (yet) I thought I'd actually just share a little about these amazing creatures that I've learned. First of all, even if you are no beekeeper, but are a gardener, as some that have emailed me are, you can help out! You don't need a honeybee hive to keep bees. There are lots of other sorts of bees, and actually some are even BETTER pollinators than honey bees! Such as, the mason bee, the Cutter bee  and Bumble bees of course! (click on the links for more info!) I guess I didn't even know this but, mason bees, cutter bees and bumble bees rarely sting, I mean really, you can put your hand right over their hive and they won't do a thing. Let's be a bit selfish for a second here, let's face it, as gardeners I am always interested in ways to improve my crop yield. Just think a 30% bump just for putting up some bee habitats. Here are some examples;
I found these images online. 
I am going to make my own version of these because you can have bees that are honey bees and also other types as well. Heck, I'm all for helping out the bees and helping my own crops too! I have just put in a small area on the side of the house of nothing but wild flowers from a bee-friendly packet of seeds. Bees forage miles away from the hive so I'm not worried that my little fuzzy friends won't have enough to eat. I live in the burbs and we have just a ton of trees, grasses, flowers, manicured lawns and even some wetlands about 2 blocks away! I pick up my hive this week, and will hopefully be up to setting it up before the weekend, but it may not be until Sunday since we are tilling and planting this weekend. I have decided to put my hive in the midst of the garden, facing south getting some nice exposure to the sun and hopefully being able to keep the harsh winds we've had all season at bay. I will of course post some lovely pictures of how this momentous event goes down! I will leave you with this idea, if you decide that a hive is a good idea for you, I urge you to give Greg a call, he not only does the honey hives, but he also does the Mason bee hives as well. He makes them by hand and they come apart so you can even preserve the larva for next year! Clever! Here is his link the price is lower than a lot of seen online, and I really feel like even though he's done me a good turn, he's done the bees one better. 
See ya next week when I hopefully will post my pics and experience of not only setting up the hive, but also adding my bees! 

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