My earliest memories of honey was the block of honeycomb dripping with honey that sat at my grandfather’s place at the kitchen table. We were never allowed to have any while he was there but when he was on his accounting trips for the State of Wisconsin, Grandma let us have whatever we wanted–including sampling that honey.
Since that time I thought it would be fun/cool/interesting/challenging to raise bees–or more realistically manage a hive or two.
One year for my birthday I got a complete bee suit with gloves; I ordered a bee hive and then we waited for the bees to arrive. Nothing happened until I noticed bees flying in and out of the corner of my shop out in the country. I attended local bee keeping meetings and i was advised to wait until spring to remove them.
Wow–what a challenge that turned out to be! We lit the smoker, suited up–horribly hot in the upstairs of a tin roof building; cut open the wall and faced thousands of bees–none of whom were happy to see us. We plunked as much of that comb and bees into a waiting box.
That did not work very well–but we did seal up the outside of the building.
Then a good friend told us he had done a recovery and would we want those bees. Of course we said YES!!!
And so I had one hive. We carefully transferred it to a larger box and then added and added and I had a honey harvest the first year.
Second Year–the year of intermittent floods and heat in which we tried to do a split several times, successful once–and the hive moved to the chicken yard—where it was slimed out in just one month. The other hive succumbed to wax moths–and I was left with just the one hive.
I had also signed up for a beginning beekeeping class and had a school hive to manage and bring home to my apiary–duly registered with the State of Texas. Those bees tend to be a bit testy and we are seriously considering requeening to a nicer lady. Sometimes they seem to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed–while the first hive is always calm but interested.
We have two big hives and starting to add to our flock-herd-group-not sure what several hives are called–maybe a Buzz?
And for those of you who notice such things–yes, I did have a piece of dirt on my camera lens which has now been cleaned.