March 13th, 2008
In the Fall of 07 I purchased enough beekeepng equipment to start a small honey business. Did I plan this? No, it sort of happened…more a mixture boredom and craigslist I guess. I saw someone selling bee boxes and thought I would buy a couple of them, when I got to the guys house he told me he had no interest in selling a couple of them but would only sell all them or nothing…so in one of those moments where your mind is saying what the hell would I do with all this stuff but your mouth is saying “well, ok…sure”….I bought them.
Do I know anything about beekeeping? That would be no, nada zip but being totally ignorant about something shouldn’t keep someone for from trying something right? Right.
So here I am, without any knowledge of beekeeping but with two tall stacks of boxes which are full of wax encrusted honeycomb dividers, various screens, a smoker thing, trays of some sort.
I don’t know what that correct names are for these things and that is one of the main reason for starting this blog. For all of the people out there who know nothing about bees but are interested, hopefully, this will be of some help.
March 13 2008
After looking around on the internet and identifying the parts to a bee hive as I talked about on the ‘A Place to Call Home‘ page I discovered all sorts of bugs in the Supers. I took a couple of the supers to Beez Neez in Snohomish, Washington to see if they could help me figure out what I need to do to get started. They were a big help and as it turns out I have a pretty major wax moth problem. I had stored these in the barn over the winter and when I unstacked them I noticed lots of bug debri and spiders.
Looking at these foundations made me think I had a lot of work to do to get them into shape and I hoped I would actually be able to get rid of all the wax moth issues.
I was told I could put the supers in a bag with Enzo Moth Ice Crystals (PDB – paradichlorobenzene crystals – Never use PDB to treat frames containing honey.) for a few days and then scrap the foundations clean. Make sure the bags are sealed tight. The gases emitted from the PDB is heavier than air so you want to put the crystals on top of the supers and let the gases work their way down. I don’t like the idea of using chemicals but it is supposed to be better than moth balls. I have heard that another way to prevent wax moth infestations is to store the empty frames in a freezer. However, if you are storing comb honey, you should freeze the comb at 20°F for 4.5 hours, at 10°F for 3 hours, or at 5°F for 2 hours. If you are preparing a large quantity of comb honey for storage, freeze it at least 24 hours beforehand.
I think I am just going to remove the foundations and use a blow torch to clean the frames and then replace all the foundations with Pierco Foundations.
March 17 2008
I ended up putting all the frames on the back of my pickup and using my thumbs pushing all the old foundations off the frame and then used a blow torch to go over the entire frame melting the wax and propolis and cleaning them up. I used a small screwdriver to pick out the slots for the foundations. Then I cleaned up the supers and painted them white. Now I am all set to put the foundations into the frames and get them ready for the bees to arrive.
Using the Pierco (black) foundations I more or less snapped them into place. I had to remove the wiring from some of the frames. They all went in very easily, placing them first into the slot near the top and then gently bending them into the slot in the bottom of the frame.
With 20 of these done it is time to get ready to introduce the bees to the hive.
April 20th 2008
I ordered enough bees for two hives. There are 3 lbs of Italian honey bees and one queen in each container. I ordered them through Cary at the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association.
(2 containers of Italian Honeybees and a pollen patty)
(Click to save as a screensaver)