Adventures in beekeeping, Uncategorized 0 comments on Beekeeping update – Video of the action

Beekeeping update – Video of the action

I promised my dad I would make a video of an inspection with all of the action. Here’s the intro video:

Today’s game plan was to fill up the sugar water, and then make sure that the hive is queen right. Queen right is just terminology to mean that there is a Queen who is laying eggs, and that the hive isn’t gearing up to swarm.

Then video number two is a bit more about fixing up the sugar water.

Honestly that’s become super easy to do. I never wear a suit anymore when I’m changing the sugar. I just go up to the hive, make sure the girls are in a decent mood, and then change the water.

On the other hand, when I’m opening up the hive itself, that’s a different story. The gloves don’t let me take good photos, but today I said screw it. My dad’s worth it. Here’s a non-glove inspection… or at least for the most part 🙂

Some cinematography to figure out, but otherwise a good 5 minutes if you ask me 🙂 And then here is a gallery of stills to go along for the ride 🙂

Adventures in beekeeping, Uncategorized 0 comments on Talking about bees…

Talking about bees…

We are on week 2 of bees. 

I’ve reduced the hive down to one super (the technical term for the boxes). It started off as 3 boxes – 1 to house the bee transport box, 1 with frames (the technical term for where the bees build comb), and 1 to house extra sugar water. 

On day 2, I removed the bottom one which held the bee transport. 

Earlier this week, the extra sugar water that came with the transport ran out. So I dumped the top box just leaving me with the middle one filled with bees. 

On a daily basis, we’ve been refilling the sugar water feeder.  

Here’s what that looks like when you pull it out. Clear the bees away, refill the jar, and for most days you’re done. 

However, today, I did a full hive inspection. Check out the process. 

First, I take off the cover  


The bees are all over it, and that’s ok. This is the view inside the hive when everything comes off:

  Each of those black frames is a double-sided comb structure. Most of them are filled with eggs, larvae, and (slowly) capped comb that mean a new bee is about to be born. 
I pull each one out to check it out

And I’m greeted by a swarm of happy bees helping the family grow. 

I’m really close to adding a second box. The queen is busy working away at the outside frames, and then she’s going to want more space to lay eggs. 

The adventure keeps getting better! 

Adventures in beekeeping, Fatherhood, Uncategorized 0 comments on Don’t teach fear; teach respect instead

Don’t teach fear; teach respect instead

The bees are drinking as much sugar water as the kids are drinking milk. It’s amazing how quickly two sets of little ones can consume these liquids.

And so yesterday, I went to refill the sugar water for the bees so I wouldn’t have to do it this morning. Mornings are just too crazy to add another chore, but that’s a blog post for a different day. And one little worker bee decided she didn’t want to hop out of the feeder. So we brought her along, refilled the jar, and I was going to turn it over, but I didn’t want to drown her. Instead, we shook her out of the feeder onto the mulch, and put the feeder back in place.

At this point, the kids decided they wanted an up close view of a honey bee.

I can’t tell you how many people seem to be freaked out at the concept of being close to bees. Everyone’s first shared thought has been that I’m crazy because bees sting. We think this way because we’ve had bad experiences, and so we’ve either been taught, or taught ourselves, to fear stinging insects (as if they’re all created equally).

And so here we are, mere inches from the bee. Luka pointed out that she has stripes on her abdomen. Amelia counted her legs. We looked at how big her eyes were on her face. We talked about how it’s a girl bee, and that boy bees don’t fly. We talked about why you don’t touch the bee, and even though I mentioned that they sting when they’re scared, the conversation was more about not wanting to be touched, and respecting the life of another creature.

I don’t have to teach them to be afraid of bees. I just need to teach them to understand and respect the bees. And isn’t that a better state of mind for how to approach new things? I sure think so.


Adventures in beekeeping, Uncategorized 0 comments on ‘Twas the night before Bee-mas 

‘Twas the night before Bee-mas 

and all through the night. I’m slaving away on one last project. I started it last weekend, and I’m inches away from finished. Over the course of the week I’ve learned that:

  1. I’m so glad that Davis Drive Middle School had wood shop, and I spent 3 years there with Mr. Boyle
  2. I can’t cut anything in a straight line
  3. It’s as expensive to rent as it is to buy a circular saw
  4. The kids love DIY

However, my drill has run out of power, and so it will wait til morning. 

Pictures below of the bee stand. It turns out that you need to add elevation to a bee hive. Otherwise skunks, raccoons, and mice will get in too easily. 

This way when they try, the angry daughters will come out and sting!

And the girls all show up tomorrow. I’ll have them all in and setup by the late afternoon. 

And the great experiment will officially commence. 

Here goes nothing!

So far on the list of honey receivers in order are:

  • Amelia and Luka 
  • My mom and brother
  • Fabienne (I need your address)

If anyone else wants some (assuming I don’t mess it all up), then let me know. They told us to expect honey by July. It will be a Independence Day treat for all!

I don’t know if it’s legal to ship internationally. I’ll find out. If so, throw my dad, uncle, aunt, and Aydin as line 4. 




Adventures in beekeeping, Uncategorized 2 comments on Beekeeping update

Beekeeping update

The bees are ordered!

They arrive on April 11. There will be a queen, and her newly adopted family of 10k bees. 

I have 2 more frames to paint. I have an entire stand to build. And then the infrastructure to support the bees will be finished. 

This weekend, I got to go to a local community garden, and actually open a box. It’s amazing. This box had, according to the beekeeper, 40k bees. They’re everywhere, and yet 10 feet away you wouldn’t even know a hive existed. I think that’s evolution at its best. It behooves the bees to disappear into the background, and they’re good at it.

When I saw this army of bees though tending to the brood, eggs laid, new bees eating their way out (e.g. Being born), it was just awesome.

I’m glad I got a suit for the kids because getting them involved is going to be a blast!

It will be 3 – 6 weeks for the bees to acclimate. Then a few weeks more until we have a full honey box. So by 4th of July I’m hoping we can celebrate with some great honey based dishes. 

It’s all very exciting!

Adventures in beekeeping, Uncategorized 5 comments on My beekeeping adventure begins

My beekeeping adventure begins

And so it begins…

Last week I went to a beekeeping class. The teachers were hilarious. They just kept making fun of each other. Some of them do it for fun like I will. One of them does it as a side business. It’s pretty amazing to see how into it they still are after 8, 10, 15 years.

The warnings are stark… you will fail. You will have a hard time keeping them alive. It is expensive to get started.

But the opportunities are there too… lots of honey, lots of wax (chap stick forever!), and a whole new hobby to explore.

I’m really excited because it gives me a hobby that isn’t technology. It gives me a pet who I can leave for a month at a time, and it will be ok. And it gives me something really fun to do with the kids that also teaches them about simpler things.

So after class number one, I’ve sat here tonight and looked at multiple bee equipment vendors finding the least expensive one. There’s a tie between two of them, and the guy teaching the class had a very clear winner in his eyes.

I think I’ll go with that one, but I’m going to call them to see if it’s even cheaper than I thought. Then we’ll build the hive. Take one more class in March. And then the bees show up in April.

Then we rock and roll.

Here’s the crazy thing… your bees take about 6 weeks to find themselves. Well in that six weeks, the only bee that you bought that will still be alive will be the queen. The rest will have died, and the queen will have repopulated her hive.

And in 18 months when she can’t lay any more eggs? Well, they off her, find a new queen, and start all over again.

Crazy, huh?