Since I am the most spoiled wife in the history of the world, it should come as no surprise that Krista gave me the most exquisite bee hive for Christmas. Levi gifted me with a veil, a bee keeper hat, a bee brush and a very fancy hive tool. He also promised to help me with the bees, which is more valuable than gold when it comes to lifting heavy boxes of honey and brood. (Insert some kind of Caveman comment like “BOY HAVE MUSCLE. BOY LIFT BOX”) I have, of course, no practical experience in keeping bees, so I am basing this all on my research. I can assure you this will in no way hinder my enthusiasm.
The UPS guy delivered the hive. Generally, when you read books about people taking up bees or chickens in the backyard, they relay a story where the delivery man says, “I didn’t know you could do that here! My (grandpa/uncle/great-aunt/best friend’s dad) used to do that when I was growing up. Neat!” In the most predictable fashion, the delivery man yelled to Krista from the truck, “Do you keep bees? I didn’t know that you could do that here. My grandpa used to keep bees.” Krista mentioned that he may have thought the boxes contained actual bees because he was shouting this from the safety of his truck. The beehive came in a box with the cutest FRAGILE stickers I have ever seen. I mean, seriously, it is a bee stamping FRAGILE on the box. Check it out.
The beehive itself is an english garden hive from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. This hive uses medium boxes and 8 frames, both of which make the boxes less heavy and, thus, easier to work with when they start to get full. Also, you can use a standard size of equipment in all of your boxes, because they are all the same size. I’ve learned that it’s really difficult to make decisions about what you want or need for your first beehive because you have no idea what you or your bees will prefer. I guess you just dive in and hope they don’t swarm away. Anyway, the English Garden Hive is beautiful with its fancy copper roof. It’s been called the Hive of the Future by Bee Culture Magazine’s Kim Flottum, and I like the future, so that’s what I got. Borrowed directly from here, there are a few practical reasons to choose the fancy copper-top hive.
There are two problems with the traditional 10-Frame shallow/deep sized box methodology.
– If your bees decide to make honey in your deep, you don’t really have any recourse. You now have a 100+ pound box of honey that you need to lift every time you work your hive.
– If you get brood (bee larva) in your honey shallows (hive box usually intended for honey only), or honey in your brood deeps (primarily intended for larva), there’s no way to switch the frames around — you’re stuck with a mess.
The 8-Frame medium garden hive solves all of those problems.
And many thanks to Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper in San Francisco, for providing high-end beekeeping inspiration. So, with all that fanfare, I only have a stock photo of the hive. It looks pretty much the same sitting in the middle of our living room, so use your imagination.
And the beehive came in several big boxes, wrapped in so much paper to protect it during shipping. I appreciated that it was paper, and not plastic that is going to stick around the planet forever, but there was a LOT of paper. We got a little crazy and made some haute couture dogware. It was sort of like Project Runway, but without Tim Gunn or $$$ prizes.
Although it causes me physical pain to post a picture of myself where I look like the world’s biggest dork, I feel obligated to share this photograph with you. Hopefully next time I am dressed up in bee gear, I can make a slightly less maniacal face.
Now, I need to get some coveralls and a package of bees. The coveralls are harder for me to wrap my mind around than a box of fussy bees. See, I don’t really wear pants. Ever. Maybe I wear leggings to yoga, but I usually do my yard work and gardening in skirts. Bees can fly right up a skirt! I have not figured out how I am going to resolve that small issue, yet.