I picked up our bees the other day, and I can already tell this was one of the best DIY projects we’ve come up with! This is going to be a detailed post, folks, so bear with me.
The choice of what kind of bee to work with this year was a bit laborious. In America, there are three breeds which are most commonly dealt with (although there are a million sub-breeds). Our quickest and most easily acquired choices were Russian, Italian, and the Carniolan (which are from Slovinia). Upon LOTS of research, I decided we wanted the Carniolan (or New World Carniolan) bees, for a plethora of reasons: they overwinter well, do great in a wet/cold climate (New England, HELLO!), extreme docility of temperament, mite resistant, etc.
So, next we had to locate these amazing bees, and being my dearly-beloved-but-highly-prone-to-procrastinating-husband had waited until the last minute to carry out our bee project, all but one seller was completely sold out of bees! Lovely. But it all worked out because I am so happy we ended up using Trails End Farm in Richmond, RI. Granted, they were a little unorganized (no one called to let me know ahead of time that the bee shipment was delayed, and I made the trek out to them for nothing the first day) but the older gentleman who owns the place was SO helpful on the following day with bee information and hands-on demonstrations of how to move/handle the bees! (Also, he smelled like lemon and bees wax, which I have decided is the official scent of bee-keepers, so beware of my new chosen fragrance!) 😉
These bees are so docile! The owner wore no equipment, and didn’t have me wear any either, and handled the bees with me right next to him. Neither of us was stung. Later at home, I helped my husband transfer the bees and queen from their travel box into their bee house with no protective clothing, with Sophia right with us, and none of us were stung then either. I AM IN LOVE WITH THESE BEES! I have to say, the one part of this project I was fearful of was an increase in summertime bee bites, but it appears all the claims about this breed are very very accurate.
So, the bees are being fed sugar water for the next few weeks, just until the acclimate. I’m already planning the expansion of our “bee farm” for next year (and wondering if I can talk the hubby into one more bee house for this year?? Maybe, for like, tomorrow???) The bees are SO low maintenance at this point, and obviously they will be a little more time intensive once it comes time to collect honey, but I’m not sure it will be THAT much work (but I’ll let you know when the time arrives!).
VERY happy with how the bee project is turning out!