After a fair amount of consideration (and consultation with The Management here at HA), I have decided to get back into beekeeping. I had a hive back at my old place in Kentucky, and it was a fun and rewarding hobby. I got out of it about 15 years ago, mainly to pursue other hobbies like woodworking and running. There was only so much time in one day, and something had to give. Back then, it was beekeeping.
Today, it seems like a great fit again. I’m retired, and have more time to devote to bees. Not that it necessarily takes a great amount of time. Mostly the bees take care of themselves, and it makes for a pretty low-maintenance hobby. I’m still fascinated by the social order of bees. They are truly amazing creatures, doing important work like pollination while they give us a great local source of sweetener.
I gave away all my equipment back then, so I am pretty much starting over from scratch. I opted to order a beginner’s outfit that had everything I would need to get going. For the curious, it cost me about $450 for the hive and accessories, including a 3 pound package of bees with a queen. Yes, bees are sold by the pound! More on the bees later.
The kit I ordered includes two 10 frame deep hive bodies and two 10 frame shallow bodies (honey supers), plus a bottom board, covers, frames, a feeder, hive tool, veil, hat and jacket. The feeder is needed to feed the bees sugar water until they are established and can gather enough nectar to feed themselves.
Back to the bees. I’m not sure if the 2011 bees will be shipped via the USPS or perhaps by UPS. When I ordered them way back when, they arrived at my local Post Office, and my friendly Postmaster called me (at work no less) to tell me they were in. I rushed over there to pick them up, because I figured the PO was anxious to be rid of the bees. The Postmaster assured me it was no big deal, that I wasn’t the first person there to order bees, and she told me the names of a couple of experienced local beekeepers in case I had any questions. Gotta love living in a small town!
My experiences with the bees were all rather good back then. I never got stung a single time, and I certainly enjoyed the honey I got from my one hive. So I’m really looking forward to my new adventures with the Beez. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on beekeeping, because I’m not, but I’ll likely share my experiences from time to time.
And that’s the latest buzz going on around here!
Wow, we’ve been seriously considering the same hobby, but we have zero experience. We think our young boys would love it. How many hours a week do you expect to spend keeping bees?
Other than putting the hive together, which is a one time thing, I am thinking it will take less than a half hour per week. When it’s time to take the honey it will take more effort, but that’s not something you need to do all the time. In the winter months there is nothing to do.
Sounds like a fun adventure to begin again this spring. I look forward to hearing more about it.
How exciting, I am glad you shared the expense as my wife and I were curious about the cost, this is something we have been procrastinating about doing for years now. I didn’t know you were a runner, do you still run?
The bees cost $100. It would be cheaper to try and catch a swarm, but that’s pretty iffy. And used equipment can sometimes be had, but then you have to wonder what shape it’s in. I decided to start new, and the hive should last for quite a few years.
I gave up running a couple of years ago. My legs had enough!
Yay! Well, it’s not chickens, but I think bees are just as much fun! 😉 As we’ve only just ventured into beekeeping it will be fun to compare notes. Was Varroa destructor an issue the last time you kept bees? I expect that might have only just been rearing its ugly head at that point. We’ve already seen a phoretic mite on one of our worker bees. Nasty little parasites.
Varroa was just beginning to be a problem around here when I quit. I was lucky and didn’t really have any problems with mites or predators.
No, they’re not chickens, but it will be a lot of fun! And certainly less confining.
How wonderful that you are adding Beez to HA! I can’t wait to follow your bee keeping journey. Keep us posted!
My dad kept 5 bee hives going on our farm in Michigan when I was growing up (we also had clover feilds and apple orchards..it was the best honey!). We finally found a mennonite family here in Martin county that sells their own honey..pure delicous golden honey!
Can’t wait to watch the progress of your hives! (my dad always got his bee’s sent through the post office and they ALWAYS called him immediatly to come pick them up lol)
Sounds like a fun hobby. It seems a lot like chickens – a lot of upfront expenses to house them.
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