Sunday, January 13, 2013

Planning, Plotting and Praying…

What’s a girl to do?  She loves honeybees, she wants more than one hive and she’s suffering from a winter that currently isn’t.
In the last two days I’ve researched beehives, swarm trapping and places to purchase packages.  I’m knee deep in bee information!  The good news is progress is being made, after much reading and discussion we (because I do ask for his input and assistance) decided to go with Langstroth 8 frame mediums.  I stayed away from Langs because of the height and the weight involved because a fully loaded super can weigh a lot and I wasn’t about wrenching my back.  I also wasn’t sure that Langs were the most natural of means for my girls.  It seemed like there was a lot more fussing about that needed to be done, I’m hoping that this isn’t the case but only time will tell.  In any event we will have two 8 frame mediums and the top bar.  We went with Evans Cedar Beehives because they won’t require painting and they are lighter.  Being a woodworker means Randy is very picky about wood, he’d rather pay more for something of quality than get something that isn’t going to last.  If we could find cedar as thick as he’d like to build with he would be building them himself, but since that seems to be a serious challenge around here, we ordered! 
Now I spent a lot of time reading about catching swarms because the price of packages is crazy.  I guess with more and more people becoming beekeepers, CCD still being an issue and the losses that seem to be widespread during the winter bees are harder to come by.  I figure since all of this got started because of some honeybees in my tree, that I should be able to lure some more right?  So in addition to all our other supplies, I ordered a medium nuc box (which is short for nucleus) to use as a swarm ‘trap’.  It’s not really a trap, it’s a small version of a beehive that I’m going to put ‘bait’ (which is basically lemongrass oil) and try to convince any scout bees that are out and about that it’s a good place to move in.  If I get lucky and that happens and they make a home in the nuc box, I’ll be able to take their frames out and put them in another box, thus creating a new hive.  Sounds easy lol!
Finally, the packages..sigh this is the hardest part. I really have nothing against bees from Georgia, I just don’t think they are especially suited for Maryland.  I’ve been told that I can get the package from there and then (ugh) kill the queen and replace her with a Maryland or Northern bred one but um, yeah that ain’t happening.  So I’ve been trying to find bees from either north of Maryland or at least from places that have a winter, so far I’m not having much luck. I’ve emailed several places and asked and one place that I was excited about that is in Maryland not only charges a lot but no discount on multiple packages.  I’m not sure what to do, I may go with them and hope the third hive can come from a swarm catch.  I know without a doubt though that we will have two hives and not one when Spring arrives..

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