Monday, February 20, 2017

beekeeping tales, 2

I'm in the middle of bee school and between what I'm reading, learning in class, and researching on my own I am now feeling totally overwhelmed.

Which I think is pretty normal coming into a new subject.

The good news: one of the best sources of nectar in our geographic location is tulip poplar and November Hill could have easily been named Tulip Poplar Hill. So that's a good thing! I've also located several sources of "nucs" that will be available ranging from the last week of March on through the last week of April depending which apiary I buy from. Two of the sources have nucs from hives that will have recently returned from California where they have been busy pollinating almond orchards and other crops. The downside as far as I can determine through reading is that bees who are transported across the country may well be stressed to the point that their life spans are decreased which probably also means they are generally weaker. The other source has hives that have come from local bees captured and recovered from homes, inside walls, in feral swarms, and then put to work. These bees are untreated, which means they have a natural resistance to varroa mites and other pests and diseases, and they also are bees that have made it through winters harsher than ours, but it also means their genetics are not clearly known, so there's a chance there could be Africanized bloodlines in the mix. The beekeeper for these hives does eradicate the queens that produce aggressive bees so it shouldn't be a huge issue. 

My overwhelm is mostly due to my own tendency to want to know EVERYthing in advance, compounded by all the choices I'm having to make. Where to get the bees, where to put the hives, what kind of beekeeping suit to buy, etc. etc. I know a lot but right now it's all "book" knowledge and the only way to make it practical is to get the bees and get rolling. As with anything, you have to take it one day at a time and remember that you can access the info when you need it. 

I'm still excited. But I have to actively remind myself to turn off the part of my brain that is chugging forward with all this information.

I would like to have a treatment-free apiary because I think that is best for the bees over the long term as well as easier on the beekeeper once I get them going. In the short term it may mean losing a fair number of bees. We will see.

Today I found a huge bee forum online where I could easily spend hours a day reading and learning even more - I have resisted the call and am going to focus on bee school and the books I have for now! 


Grey Horse Matters said...

As with getting started on any new project or interest I think it will take time and lots of trial and error before you become a true professional. But it sounds like it's going to be interesting and well worth the time it takes to learn how to do this.

I'm currently reading a book by Karen White called Flight Patterns. One interesting part of the book is that at the beginning of each chapter there is a quote about bees. Supposedly taken from Ned Bloodworth's Beekeeper's Journal. The quotes are wonderful and in the book there are beekeepers and she must have done research because there are a lot of little incidentals about beekeeping and making honey. I looked in Amazon to see if there was such a book by Ned but came up empty.

Grey Horse Matters said...

By the way I need to correct a mistake I made in the last comment. Apparently, there is no such a book as Ned Bloodworth's Journal. I realized that in the beginning of each chapter there were quotes from him about bees but he was quoting others. Like Victor Hugo, Aristotle etc. Ned is the Grandpa in the story and the beekeeper and was using those quotes. I only just got to his name and figured it out since they all just called him Grandpa. So sorry about that. ;(

billie said...

This sounds intriguing! I am going to look it up right now. Thank you!

billie said...

Thanks for the update - I am so intrigued, can't wait to check this out!