Picking the Best Breeds for our Bee and Chick Orders

As spring comes closer, we order our bee hive, bees, and chicks. It was a learning experience but we will plan better next year.

Earlier this week, I took advantage of the warm weather to spend some time in the garage and inventory my beekeeping supplies. I have a brand new hive bottom, a super with frames, and several spare large and medium frames. I also have a hive tool, a bee keeper jacket with hood, gloves, and a smoker.

When my daughter was in high school, she raised bees as a science project. When she went off to college, I inherited the bees. We had them for five or six years before we lost the hive to some unknown die-off. To get rid of any mites or disease, I burned the boxes, disposed of the frames, and packed away all the unused parts and accessories in case I had bees again one day. Looks like that day is almost here.

To construct a full hive, I ordered two hive bodies, an inner lid, an outer lid, a queen excluder, an entrance reducer, and an inside feeder that replaces a frame. I still need a bee brush and hive staples. I have a few cinderblocks that I plan to use as a base.

The three-pound package of Italian bees with their queen will show up in April. Then I will don the bee suit and pour the bees into the hive. I’ll add a second hive body once the queen is free from confinement and starts producing brood. Not knowing what will be flowering and providing pollen and nectar when they arrive, I expect I will need to feed the hive.

THis image of our old hive is from 2009.
This image of our old hive is from 2009, but the new one will look the same. Prices for beekeeping supplies have definitely gone up in the past decade.
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Chickens, Gardens and Bees, Oh My!

As gardening season approaches, we concentrate on chickens, bees, and appropriate fencing to protect them all

Lately, I have been reading, watching videos, and studying up on chickens like there is no tomorrow. 

Having a “backyard” chicken flock has always been part of my long-range planning, even after one of our neighbor had more than 50 chickens and ran a free range chicken egg business out of her house.  (Thank goodness our bedroom was on the opposite side of the house because she had a rooster.)  So I’ve been reading articles and blogs for some time, but that has intensified lately.

I have made up plans to build a 4-foot by 8-foot chicken coop and made a list of building materials that will be required.  The only unanswered questions I have are how much insulation will be needed and how much venting I need to have, plus do I need to cover up the vents on super cold days.

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