Fast forward to a couple months ago when our neighborhood association sent out an email on behalf of a beekeeper who was looking to keep bees in our neighborhood and wondered if anyone was interested. I discussed it with Steve and determined that this might potentially be the ideal situation to learn from an experienced beekeeper and also not fully commit to doing all the work it entails. So I emailed back saying that we were interested and wanted more information. Turns out it is a woman named Chris who lives in an apartment in uptown and needed a place for her bees. She has been keeping 2 hives in Powderhorn at someone else's house for the past few years and wanted another location. The hives have to be spread out by a few miles so that there is enough for the bees to forage. She came over to chat and meet us and we decided to move forward. Steve and I had already determined that the ideal spot for the hives would be on our flat roof above our family room. There is virtually no place to put it in our yard and the hives have to be in a fenced in area as stipulated by the city in order to obtain a permit. Also the bees need a spot with full sun.
Here I am releasing 10,000 bees, no biggie. You spray them with sugar water to calm them a bit and then dump them in the hive box. You really have to whack at them to get them all out.
So we unleashed the bees into the two new hives and then we left them there for a few weeks. We moved them onto our roof last Sunday because the conditions were right. You have to do it when it is either dark or under 50 degrees and since we have to go in and out Eloise's bedroom window, the morning seemed like the other time. I got up early on Mothers day and helped her move the hives. We put a screen over their entrance and exit hole and ratcheted it down with straps and threw the boxes in her car.
Here she is organizing the frames so that they are an equal distance apart from each other. The bees will mess up the honeycomb if the spacing is incorrect. The hive boxes need maintainence every 7-10 days, which involves rotating the frames in the boxes and adding new boxes on top as the hive grows. At some point we will put a queen excluder on which will keep the queen down below and above the excluder will be just honey frames.
We spotted the queen on the frame (closest to the edge). It is also interesting to see how they are forming the honeycomb on frame. The black sheet is just plastic to help them start.
Well, more updates to come in the next few months. It will be exciting to see our plants being pollinated, to help the environment as well as learn as much as possible.