Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Bee Hive

When I work out of town I earn $40 for food expenses per day.  Sometimes this doesn't even cover the amount spent if you are in a group and they all want to go to a nice restaurant for dinner.  But last week, when I earned $200 for food, I didn't go out to eat at all.  Since I had the grand kids with me and we brought over the trailer (I saved the state $500 in hotel expenses!), we brought food from home.  As you all know, I don't normally spend $200 in a month for food, let alone in 5 days!  This meant a "jackpot" of $200! 

When I get food money like this I don't buy little things, I try to buy something big that I normally wouldn't buy.  So today I bought something big!  I was in the city and I stopped by Dadant.  They've been in the beekeeping business since 1863!  They have a website www.dadant.com.  It was easy enough to navigate but I wanted an actual catalogue.  I walked in to their building and said I know nothing about beekeeping but I want to learn and I want to buy what I need.  They sell supplies, not the bees.  They did give me some phone numbers of people and companies who sell bees.  The guy behind the counter pointed out the book First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith S. Delaplane.  He said it's the best book for beginners.  He told me to read the book then come back and buy something. 

No, I want something in front of me while I'm reading the book.  I've read all about supers, frames, smokers, entrance reducers and everything else.  I want a hive in front of me while I learn about this.  That way I can look and touch and make it completely understandable.  I won't get the bees yet and I understand it may be too late in the season to buy bees.  I may have to wait until next year.  But I want to be ready.  So, I bought their beginner's kit using cash and I still have money to spare!  This kit came with the book he recommended.  It also came with a hive tool (whatever that's for!), an entrance reducer, bee smoker, frames, hat/veil, gloves, foundation, feeder, smoker fuel, cover, inner cover, and bottom board.  Supposedly it's everything I will need to get started, minus the bees of course.  And I have to put it together myself.  The directions look easy and they aren't too far away if I have any problems. 

There's a beekeeping group that gets together monthly.  It sounds interesting but I can't go this month.  I don't know if I'll really be able to go to their meetings at all since they are during the week in the evening.  It's too far from home and at an inconvenient time because the grand kids are too young to stay home by themselves and if I brought them we'd be out too late on a school night.  I'm going to try to figure this out by myself.  If I have any questions I can send them off to http://beewenchfarm.com/ where Sarah can guide me from her experiences!  


  1. Ah, someday. Bees is on the list of things to do here also. I'm curious if and when you get the bees. I've been reading that hive numbers are down for a variety of reasons. Maybe that's not true.

  2. I'll be happy to guide you through your beekeeping adventure! It's so much fun! We picked up 2 swarms last week to populate our new hives with! They ate free and easy to catch(most of the time)
    A frugal option to the Langstroth Hives is a Top Bar Hive...


  3. You will love your bees...I'm crazy about mine. I just picked up 2 3# packages with marked queens on Saturday. I attended a Bee Day up in Orland...it was hosted by a very large commercial operation. There were several speakers, demonstrations, catered bbq, a booth from Mann Lake selling everything and of course BEES. It was very nice...100's of bee people. This is my third year keeping bees...I learn something new every day.

  4. Look for local beekeepers club in your area, that's how we got our start and you don't have to have bees to join; or your local extension office. Beekeepers are very friendly and happy to help out beginners. We have a Dadant store here they have everything you need to get started. We order our bees from them in the January and get them in April. Just picked up our new hive on Saturday.

  5. Feel free to ask away if you have bee questions, I'm happy to answer whatever questions you might have .... lots of folks around that can help!