Last year at the end of March we put a hive of bees on our property, an awesome hive! A hive that in its first few months provided us with 50lbs of honey- that is unheard of. You should not expect to harvest honey from your newly added hive until the following year. The local Bee Master (as I like to call him), Mr. Bundrick of Bundrick Honey Farms set us up with an amazing nuc of bees!
We wintered our bees with a deep which had been the queens brood chamber since we put the hive on the property, but we added a supra full of honey to overwinter them as well. Old Man Winter was not really that harsh this year, so they did REAL well. Since we have such a strong hive we decided to try to split our hive, thus making two good hives.
We are amateur bee keepers learning as we go, with knees knocking! Eric has been building, building, building! He does not have all the fancy tools but he uses what he has and his ingenuity as well and we have ended up with some pretty amazing end products. He was able to build each supra and hive body for much less than than buying them from a supplier. Mother Earth News has a Honey Bee Magazine that actually has plans for building your own hive. Eric basically used one of our purchased hives from last year to make his measurements before he began his work. The only thing we had to buy was the frames (pictured below) for each box. We purchased them disassembled and spent one afternoon working together until the project was completed. This past week we put those bee hives that he built into place. One of them has been put in place, but for now still waits on bees.
We are very hopeful that our now two hives will prosper and flourish from here. One or possibly both of them have to hatch out a queen, she has to take flight, mate and come back and start laying eggs. This all will take about 30 days and hopefully we success will be the end result!
We have our name on a list with Mr. Bundrick for a nuc, hopefully sometime this spring he will have one for us! If we don't get one from him, we may have to make an order somewhere online. The third hive is actually going on our property for the sole purpose of harvesting for Eric's parents. They have been purchasing honey from a coop for years now and are excited about having their own honey source free of charge! The only cost will be the bees themselves - about $90!
If you have a bee hive on your property, and it is a strong hive, it is time to start checking out the space inside the hive making sure they have enough room, so you can avoid a possible swarm. Once the bees plan a swarm.. there is little you can do to discourage them, as I understand it.