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Adventures in Beekeeping

Last fall Cathy and Ron were talking about bee keeping.  After hashing it around for a while we decided that keeping bees might be a cool thing. Good for the environment, the bees need help, and as a bonus are gardens will do well and we get some honey out of the deal.

After some research we decided to enrol in a beekeeping class in Tsawwassen, (a suburb of Vancouver). We contact Urban Bee Supplies and got our selves set up for the weekend classes.

Then at Christmas time we decided that it would be cool to give each other our hives for christmas. So I went out to visit Urban Bee supplies and met Lindsay, the owner. She set me up with what we needed to get started. We wanted two hives so we got 4 deep supers for the brood, bottom board, inner cover and outer cover. Along with 40 frames (where the bees lay comb) two bee suits and a bee brush. We were all set. (we thought)

Looking inside a hive for the first time at the school.

Looking inside a hive for the first time at the school.

Examining the hive, looking for the queen and any signs of desease.

Examining the hive, looking for the queen and any signs of desease.

Fast forward to the end of March and we are off to bee school. Two days of intense learning about bees. Lindsay is great, never make you think you are asking a dumb question and you get lots of hands on experience handing the hives.

Bees on the inside cover of the hive.

Bees on the inside cover of the hive.

The first time you open a mature hive that has 80,000 or so bees in it can be intimidating. But once you realize that, A) they can’t sting you and B) they don’t want to, it all goes smoothly.

By the end of the first day of school we realized we needed more stuff. 6 more honey supers and 60 shallow frames to collect the honey in. As well as a couple of other items that we will need for the hive. NOW we are all set. (well sort of, we still have to extract the honey later in the summer.)

After our second day of class we were exhausted. There is so much to learn. Even with the text book you get, your mind still swirls over all the things you have to look for when you open the hive.

We had chosen a location for our hives, but after the second day realized we needed to move the location so the bees would get more sun. The hives were also going to be too close together. So off to Rona for more bags of sand and concrete pads to put our hives on. (Which were now all painted and waiting for a home)

Painted and ready for use. Now we just need the bees. They come later this week and we will get the chance to install our first packages of bees into our first hives. Here is hoping for nice weather on Wednesday!

The hives are ready, now we just need the bees.

The hives are ready, now we just need the bees.

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