After months of planning, reading, and You-Tubing, the day has finally come. As of 4pm today, my husband and I are officially beekeepers.
I’m a city girl at heart, so never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I’d live in an area where I’d have a garden, much less a beehive. But it turns out that Colorado is pretty liberal when it comes to zoning regulations, and despite having only a quarter-acre of land, according to county law, we’re allowed to have ducks, chickens, goats, and bees chilling in our backyard. Discussion on whether we’re going to become duck and goat owners is ongoing, but we now have a hive of honeybees to call our own.
Although I’d like to pretend we’re doing this for purely altruistic reasons (the state of the world’s bee population is getting pretty dire), I’m most excited about the beauty products I can make, and Adam is most excited about having access to fresh honey and being able to eat honeycomb whenever he wants.
We had to drive about an hour away to the middle of a muddy field to pick up our sealed crate of bees (officially known as a “nucleus”) and then drive home with them in the back of our SUV. Every time we hit a bump, I had visions of 30,000 bees escaping their temporary prison and swarming us to take retribution. But we made it home without incident and suited up to transfer our new pets from their box to their permanent home.
Step #1: smoke the hell out of the bees. The smoke dulls their communication channels, which keeps them from swarming.
Step 2: pry the frames apart and carefully move the frame from the temporary box to the hive.
Eventually, you’ll have all the bees transferred. If you managed to do this without completely freaking out, you did much better than us!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll feed the bees sugar water and “pollen patties” we purchased from our local bee store (that’s a thing – who knew?) so they can focus on “brooding” (making babies). Once the population has grown by about 50%, we’ll add more frames (the black things) so they can continue to expand. In two months or so, the hive population will be large enough to be self-sufficient and we can stop feeding them. Then they’ll be making HONEY!!
Provided, of course, that we don’t somehow kill them in the meantime. Wish us luck!