Taking on the responsibility of beekeeping was no surprise as our family has really grown to love honey over the years. So much so that we have been purchasing up to 6 gallons a year from out local Coop. The local Coop drop-off point happens to be at a family residence that has established a Beekeeping business over the years. After many conversations with the owner and much research I poised the question to my wife and family…”How would you all like to be become Beekeepers?” There is a big difference between a Beekeeper and a Beehaver. As a home school family this project has become a wonderful interactive learning experience for everyone to take part in. So last December I placed an order for three 4lbs packages of Bees with Queens which we picked up on the morning of April 6th 2013. I spent the afternoon helping them get into their new homes as you will see through the photos later on in the article. I chose to go with Russian Carniolan Bees instead of the Italian. Below is some descriptive info from which describes some of the differences. http://www.honeybeegenetics.com/bees.html
In 1993, the USDA chose Honey Bee Genetics to breed a “Yugo” Carniolan Stock using Instrumental Insemination. Five years later, a second import was released from Eastern Russia. On the Primorski Peninsula, Carniolan Honey Bees had been brought all of the way from the Carnica Mountains in Yugoslavia. By moving to an area where mites existed on the Asian Honey Bee, it is believed the Carniolans had been parasitized by mites for one hundred years. This gentle, gray black bee has shown excellent resistance to Varroa and tracheal mites and so should not require as much mite treatment as other lines. These bees over winter very well and build up fast in the spring. This is an excellent choice for beekeepers who are experiencing losses caused by mites or beginning beekeepers who desire bees which take care of themselves.
The use of chemicals has not been available to control this mite, so the resulting bees have developed a natural resistance. This stock is also a gentle and productive Carniolan bee which will please commercial beekeepers because of the excellent honey production.
Our reputation for Disease Resistant bees began with the Taber Italian. This stock is selected for gentleness and tracheal mite resistance. It is a dark Italian which raises large brood nests in the spring but is not quick to swarm. The bees are hygienic to clean up brood diseases at an early stage, before they spread and contaminate the colony. Our customers tell us that this line is an excellent honey producer.
I recommend that you start off by reading as much as you can on the subject of bees. Survey your area for others that may have hives near by as you really do not want your hive to struggle for food. Be sure you will be able to provide a safe, reliable, and secure location for your bees. I would look to what you hope to gain from establishing a hive or hives. Are you wanting just a garden hive to assist in the pollination of your plants or may to reap the rewards of a good honey flow and have few gallons of the golden treasure?
I built one hive a Warre Design from western cedar lumber from the local lumber store and purchased two Langstroth Hives from http://www.dadant.com/. I used plans which I found on the internet and began construction the summer of 2012. I chose to do an experiment to see the how the differences of the two designs affected the colonies and their production. Below is some information on the Warre Hives from http://www.thewarrestore.com/warrehives.htm
The Warré (pronounced war-ray) beehive was developed by a French pastor named Emile Warré in the early part of the 20th century. He had spent most of his life using and studying various types of hives before settling on what he called the “People’s hive”. His hive is simplistic and bee-friendly. It was designed most specifically for over-wintering of bees in the cold French climate and works very well in the central and northern U.S.. Although they are particularly well suited for colder climates, Warré hives can be used anywhere that bees are kept.
Be sure to check the attached pages as I will be updating the progress of our three hives with many photos.
July 4th 2013
It has been almost three most exactly since we have started the Bee Project. We been fairly successful this far has our packaged Bees are building very nicely. I just added the fifth box to the Warre Hive which you will see in the photos. We moved two colonies into the valley on a ranch that is full of blooming alfalfa and clover and have added a second super to each. We also successfully captured a swarm, a first for the crew, which is now sitting on the beautiful property along the Walker river. This weekend we are going to harvest our very first box of Honey ever. We removed about a 30lb box off of the Warre and are very excited to share this friends during our picnic.