It’s been a while since I have dedicated some time to writing a new post. I had an incident with a honey bee and have been in hiding. While I was gardening a very angry honey bee landed on my shirt. She stung me in the chest and I pulled my shirt away from my body to try to reduce the pain. To pay me back for letting her live, she went into my shirt! As I was fighting to get my shirt off, she stung me in the head! The welt on my chest was big, red, and very sore. The welt on my head looked like a big egg, almost like someone had punched me in the forehead. I had a horrible headache for several days.
I need to apologize for neglecting this website. I am sorry that I have not been getting my posts out as regularly as I should! As you will read in my upcoming post, I had a very negative interaction with a very angry honey bee. She stung me not once, but twice and I am not sure why. I was more than 10 feet away from the hive and I was sitting on the ground planting veggies. My physical reaction to bee stings has gotten a lot worse. There is so much pain and swelling when I get stung now.
After she stung me, I have had a difficult time even being in the garden. This new fear that I have developed has aided in my being behind with everything now. It has taken me some time to be comfortable in my garden again. My garden has been suffering some neglect and I haven’t done much planting. Things are getting a little better. I have been spending more and more time in the garden. It’s been a few weeks now since the angry bee got me and I have not had any other angry bees after me.
I have inspected both of the top bar hives and I will be posting those inspections soon. The Langstroth hive has also been inspected and they are a strong colony. I will be inspecting the top bar hive in my yard again very soon and I am going to work hard at getting these post written and published in a more timely manner. Thank you for your patience with me as I continue on my beekeeping journey. I have hit some bumps along the way, but I am learning from each of them.
The new top bar hive has been built, oiled, and placed in the garden. If all goes according to plan the bees will move in toward the end of next week. I plan to number the top bars to keep track of each bar and the movements that I make with it.
While I am waiting for the bees to get here, I have been rereading Top Bar Beekeeping by Les Crowder and The Thinking Beekeeper by Christy Hemenway. I want to make sure that I feel as ready as possible. I have a notebook that I am writing notes from the books in to remind me of good practices and timelines.
I have also spent time on www.hivetracks.com updating my hives and to do lists. I had fun looking at the map to see where the bees in my yard may travel to. There is quite a bit of conservation land near here for the bees to visit.
Honey bees need to have access to water, so I set up a waterer for them that has rocks in the bowl to prevent drowning. I set it up between the raspberries and the fruit trees. Soon they will be flowering and the bees should find it.
The other top bar hive has been set up in the host yard. I will be picking up the bees for that hive on Monday. That will be my first package installation. I practiced lighting the smoker. It took me a few tries to get it going. I feel comfortable with it now.
One of the final things that I need to do is to get the feeders ready. I will be feeding the bees equal parts sugar and water to help them get started. Hopefully I will not need to feed them too long, but I want to do what I can to help them succeed.
To make the hive smell appealing to them, I am going to add a drop or two of lemongrass essential oil to the hive before I put the bees in. It looks like it will be raining Monday for the installation, so I am hoping that the bees will just stay in the hive for the day. Hopefully after being in the hive for a while, they won’t have any issues calling it home.
I am hoping to get some video of the installations to share and of course there will be pictures. Now I need to make a list of everything that I need to bring, so that I do not forget anything. Wish me luck!
The top bar hive arrived from Bee Thinking. I could not wait to build it, but the box sat in the kitchen for a few weeks until I found the time. I did open the box before I was ready to start. I was greeted by a very lovely smell of cedar! All of the wood parts of the hive are made from cedar. This was very important to me when I was choosing the hive. Yes, cedar smells really good but it is also a good quality wood for outside. I will be oiling the hive with pure tung oil to help preserve it's beauty. On Sunday, I finally decided it was time to build the hive. On Bee Thinking's website it states that building time will be around 30 minutes. I took out all of the pieces and put them on the floor. I covered the floor with a blanket, as I am known for scratching the floors with my projects (my compost tumbler left a big mark on the dining room floor). Once all of the pieces were out of the box, I started to figure out which piece was what. The parts are very obvious, so this was an easy task. The stand was the first thing that got put together. It was a total of six pieces of wood and everything fit together very well. The stand only took a couple of minutes to put together. Then it was time to build the hive box. The body of the hive is five pieces, unless you unwrap the side panel with the viewing window then it's six pieces. I am sure that it is easier to put the viewing side panel on if you leave the plastic wrap on it! Since I had taken it apart, some adjustments had to be made in the end to make sure the boards and the viewing window all fit well. After the body was built, it was time to put the roof together. The roof has nine pieces to it. For the most part putting the hive together was pretty easy. I did realize about half through the process that the instructions were missing. I called Bee Thinking customer service, they took care of it right away and emailed the instructions to me. Once the body and lid were built, I realized that it did not fit onto the stand. Once again I called Bee Thinking's customer service and they helped solve the problem. It was a very easy fix, I just needed to loosen the nuts and adjust the stand while putting the body of the hive into it. Once the adjustment was made it fit perfectly. I did call Bee Thinking again just to ask about two small holes that were on the top of the lid. They were not pre-drilled holes that went all the way through, so it did not make sense to put screws into them. My question was answered, the holes are very small and do not serve any purpose. They do not compromise the design of the hive at all. Now that the hive is built, I put all of the top bars and the two follower boards inside. Once again the hive sits in the kitchen waiting. The snow is melting quickly now, but there is still too much on the ground to set the hive up outside. The bees are scheduled to come in on April 20th, so I have about a month to make sure the hive is set up and ready before they get here. I am very happy that I purchased the top bar hive through Bee Thinking. They have been wonderful with their customer service and their products. Even before I ordered my hive, I called them a few times to talk about top bar hives and get my questions answered. They were able to answer all of my questions and help me feel more confident in my decision to get in to top bar beekeeping. Check them out at www.beethinking.com.