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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well folks, the day finally arrived yesterday. My honeybees had arrived, so me and my Dad made the short drive up to Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. I have been up there several times now but my Dad had not. It is a beautiful place for a business and the drive is a very scenic one. The bee packages were loaded up the previous evening in Georgia and then hauled up to N.C overnight in a specially modified trailer that Brushy Mountain made.

Saturday, May 1st, dawned bright and sunny and looked to be a great day. Then, heavy clouds moved in but fortunately, it broke up a little and then remained partly cloudy but no rain, thank you Lord!! We timed our arrival so we could watch the demo of an installation of a package of bees. For those that have never seen or done this, it can be very intimidating!!! You are holding approximately 12,000 bees in your hands as you dump them from the shipping box to the beehive!!!! The fellow doing the demo is the general manager of the place and has a very nice and easy demeanor and is an excellent teacher. The following pictures are of Shane installing the package of bees in one of the many hives there at Brushy Mountain.












After watching the package installation we went over to the warehouse and shipping dock to pick up the bees and another order I had placed for products. Then, it was off to the vehicle for the ride home. Now, if you have never rode with 12,000 bees IN your vehicle before, it is quite the experience!!! Actually, all the buzzing coming from the box was quite relaxing, right up until I turned the package over and my heart stopped!! Fortunately, the piece of wood is stapled well over the hole that is the exit from the box!!! Below is a picture of how they haul all of the bees up from Georgia.




After arriving back home, I put the bees in the basement to keep them cool and in the dark while I mowed the yard. The ideal time to “install” the bees into your hive is just before dark and since it was only 2 pm, I had time to mow. After mowing, I rounded up the hive, the bucket of corn syrup that you must feed new bees and all the other various equipment. The following pics show me suited up and my hive, along with the bee package. As you will see in later pics, you don’t use all the supers at once, so the hive will be quite a bit shorter in the later pictures. Remember, the picture of the package of bees is 3 pounds worth or, roughly 12,000 honeybees!!









After loading up the Ranger, I made the trip across the road to my Dad’s garden space. This location was ideal as it is sheltered on 3 sides and plenty of woods, plants and bushes to feed from. There also is a stream not far into the woods from where the hive is. The next few pictures show the preparation for “installing” the bees.







Now, once you start putting the bees in, all talk and picture taking stops and you just get ‘er done!!! I must admit, sticking my hand down into 12,000 bees to move them out of the way for the frames to go back in was a bit, no, a LOT intimidating!!! The rest of the pictures are the finished hive. Now, time to sit back and wait until next Friday or Saturday. At that time, I will go back into the hive to check to make sure the Queen has been released and she is laying eggs properly. The way they were flying today though, it looks to be a healthy bunch of bees. This is already fun and I anticipate even more of it in the future. Here is the finished hive, with only the brood super and a hive top feeder. Follow along as I update this weekly to see how the honeybees are doing. It should be an interesting journey. Hope you enjoy the pictures.



 

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I can honestly say I'm not sticking my hand in a pile of bees. :shock:
It looks like an interesting hobby, as long as someone else is doing it. 8)
 

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Now that's cool Bruce !! 8) Keep us posted - with pics - on how it progresses. I assume that you’re not allergic to bee stings bud? :shock: :D
 

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Gary Lenon said:
Very interesting Bruce! I plan to follow this thread and see if they kill you or not. :wink:
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: 8)
 

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That is a very cool hobby Bruce. I will definitely enjoy watching the progress on this thread.....Hey How come you need the entire Bee Suit....The Manager at the Bee Farm wasn't using one LOL :shock: :shock: :lol: 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey, I am in my "Michelin Tire Man" suit because I am following the instructors advice of "whatever makes you comfortable" philosophy!!! Shane, at the Bee Farm, was not only not wearing a suit but also had the wrong color shirt on for working with bees. They tell you never to wear dark colors and black qualifies!!! Seems bees associate dark colors with danger, i.e bear alert!!! What I failed to get a picture of was him getting stung a couple of times!! You can see a few of those bees flying around his arm in one of the shots there!! Most beekeepers only wear a veil and a few don't wear any protection which is very foolish. One mean bee and one sting to the eye and you are blind!! The folks teaching the classes were very adamant to at least wear a veil. To that advice, I said "no problem"!!!! However, my Dad was right there helping me and had no protective equipment either and didn't get stung. They usually will only sting if you mash them but I'm not testing that theory!!! :lol:
 

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that looks like a great hobby, and one that will produce some good stuff for biscuits :D
 

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Looks like a fun hobby, BUT I would be wearing the protective gear if I was handling the bees. One thing I don't like is getting stung..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Everyone will tell you that eventually you will get stung, it just happens. Heck, there are some folks with severe arthritis that actually buy bees for the express purpose of letting them sting them!!! There is something in the venom that helps arthritis sufferers.

I am hoping to get some good "biscuit sweetener" out of this but I don't know if first year hives will yield enough or not. I am already trying to figure out how to get another hive started this year to increase the odds of having some honey since this is apparently going to be a great year for production.
 

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Bruce thanks for sharing the pictures. many years ago I would help my father in law with his bees. Those hives you have are very nice. Did you purchase them or make them your self. The ones we had were older than you and I combined :lol: :lol: but they still worked. My father in law would only wear a veil, I much like you, looked like the Hispanic Michelin man covered up from head to toe and I would even tape the gloves to my wrists so that the bees couldn't get in there. I still managed to get stung every time and he seldom if ever did. Go figure. He finally got out of the honey business for good. I look forward to following this thread.
 

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Nice pictures Bruce keep us posted often, this sounds like it will be really interesting to follow. Pictures are always interesting
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cesar, my hive is built and sold by Brushy Mountain Bee Farm and they call it their Garden Hive. It is made of Cypress instead of pine, which should make it last a lot longer, and the top is covered in copper. I chose to use a waterproofing with a little cedar tint to it. The hive is really well made and I couldn't bear to cover up that pretty grain with white paint!! I too used to hang around my grandpa while he looked into the beehives, only I was at a distance!!! I will try and keep this thread updated with pics as I go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
tracker1 said:
Nice pictures Bruce keep us posted often, this sounds like it will be really interesting to follow. Pictures are always interesting
Thanks Dick, I will try and keep new pictures coming. I checked on the hive for the first time yesterday but it was too late in the day for pictures and I had to hurry before it got dark on me. The queen had been released from her cage and she has already started laying eggs. There were bees everywhere as the late afternoon time period was when everyone was "home"!!! There was so many that it was impossible not to crunch a few of them with parts of the hive as I reassembled it!! So far, my "Michelin suit" has kept me safe and I ticked them off a couple times yesterday!! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have not posted these pics here yet so here are a few closeups of honeybees. I didn't take these but they are very good pictures and shows you how the bees are working.











 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I finally got around to taking some more pictures yesterday as I went back into the hive to refill the feeder and to find the queen to make sure she was doing her thing. Now, let me just say this, fooling around with a camera while trying to work around bees and in full "body armor" is a challenge!!! :lol: I did manage to get a few pictures but only after making one of them so made that she implanted her stinger in my glove!!! I looked down and saw what was going on and shook her back into the hive but the stinger was left behind!! Thank goodness for gloves or I would have felt that one! The only bad thing is once they use their stinger, they are as good as dead as they can only survive an hour or two after that. So, one more dead honeybee to go along with the others that you always tend to mash as you move parts of the hive around! :(


This is looking into the hive top feeder. It is a shallow box that sits on top of the hive, under the roof, and allows the bees to fee in a protected environment. They come up through the center from below, where you see the honeycomb being built. This comb was removed before I closed things back up. A corn syrup feed is on the left, with a floating bed of slats on top. The bees can sit on these slats and get the syrup through the slots without drowning. Now, one or two still manage to drown though!! On the right side is a pollen patty for them to eat on. You can also put corn syrup on this side if you wish.






Here, you can see the queen. It is the bee with the blue/green dot on her body. When you buy bees, you can get the queen either marked or unmarked. Being a novice, there was no way I could find her without a mark, so I had her marked. I know now that she is still alive at least!
 

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That is cool. Thanks for the Pics Bruce. This really looks interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey, I am really enjoying working at learning this hobby. In the last picture, if you will look to the left of the queen, you will see the difference between the foundation and the real honeycomb that the bees have built themselves. To the left of the queen, running a diagonal, you will see the real beewax foundation that I installed. This is beeswax that has been melted and formed with little honeycomb shapes and wires pressed in for support. To the right of the queen, where all the bees are, you will see that the bees have built on this foundation and are "drawing" their own comb. It is kind of like laying a foundation for the house to sit on. The bees can do it all from scratch but you save them a lot of work and time if you give them something to work from.
 
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