Thursday, March 26, 2015

Beekeeping {assembling the hive}

If you follow me on Insta, you may have observed that I am beginning to dabble in BEEKEEPING. I have been fascinated with bees since college (sustainable design minor + Frank Lloyd Wright obsessive + Masters in Sustainable Design) never thinking i'd actually OWN them someday. THEN, about a year and a half ago I found out that urban beekeeping is a THING, which prompted me to drop everything and learn ALL THE THINGS about keeping bees alive in Minnesota (because bees are on the decline, which is sad and horrible because like 60something% of our diet is in thanks to bees pollinating your food).

Have I mentioned before that i'm not really the type of person to just JUMP into something? I'm that wierdo twenty something at electrical 101 surrounded by 15 adult males. I just wanna learn people! SO, of course when I wanted to know everything about beekeeping I looked into taking a class and stalking current beekeepers to teach me their ways.


The University of Minnesota has some dope courses, I took the first one last November and i'll take a 2nd next November (that goes over year 2 of beekeeping). I also shadowed a few local beekeepers last summer while they checked their hive so I could see how they worked/what they looked for. OH, and I also took a community class with a bunch of 5 year olds. I'm so cool.

All of this and i'm still reading online forums/books. Bees are SO INTERESTING PEOPLE. Don't even get me started.

TODAY, let's talk about the first step (after my lengthy educational step) assembling the hive.


Ask any beekeeper and they will direct you to the same supplies. There are some more avaunt guard beekeepers who fashion bird houses into a hive with a spigot for extracting honey, but the PRO's told me to get Langstroth Hive bodies and supers.

I bought all of my equipment from Mann Lake because they are from MN and come highly recommended. Also, everything came within like 3 days of me mailing in my order - so they are SUPER speedy.



I saved some cashola by buying the hive unassembled, because remember - I like to make things super long and painful for me! So, I started out by nailing in the billion nails to the hive body, NBD just throw on some tunes and get to work pounding away.


What was taking FOREVER, was nailing in the frame nails (the frames hold the wax in the hive body). The frames are not super sturdy (until nailed together!) and you need them to be UBER square so they fit perfectly. So after taking 10 minutes to do one, I threw in the towel and brought out the nail gone. BOOM, done.



NOW that it's all assembled, the last step in getting the hive ready (well, really to be placed in the wilderness), is paint! Since it's bare wood and we live in the ELEMENTS, the wood needs to be protected. ALSO, bees can see color! And what bee wouldn't want a pretty hive to come home to after a LONG day of pollinating?! I chose a bright blue, because some crazy scientist thinks it's bee's favorite color, and I totally believe them.


BUT, when you paint, you ONLY paint what is exposed. The insides stay RAW for the bees to hang out in. mmkay? They like a more, natural, decor inside.


Fingers crossed I don't kill 50,000 bees this year...





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