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Homesteading

All Abuzz About Something

I’m really excited about something lately and wanted to share. In my ever growing urge to become more self sufficient, learn more about homesteading, and provide healthy local food for my family, I’ve decided to learn the ins and outs of beekeeping. Beekeeping is something that’s been in the back of my mind for quite a while now, but I’ve finally decided to dive in head first with my first hive.

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8 frame Langstroth hive from Triad Bee Supply. So beautiful!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading and researching how bees behave, how and where bees like to live, how the honey making process works, and the basic details of what makes a colony tick. This past weekend, my efforts became more aggressive. I actually purchased a hive from Triad Bee Supply in Trinity, NC. After careful research, I went with an 8 frame Langstroth style hive with a copper A-frame top for ease of manipulation. When full of brood, an 8 frame Deep weighs approximately 20 lbs less than a 10 frame Deep. Likewise, an 8 frame Shallow full of honey weighs around 40-45 lbs, where a 10 frame Shallow full of honey would weigh around 55-60 lbs. That’s a huge difference in terms of being able to lift and carry my boxes. Since I’m starting out with my very first boxes, I’ll be able to standardize and buy only 8 frame equipment so that everything will be interchangeable. The bees could care less about the pretty copper A-frame top, but my wife loves it! 😉

In addition to purchasing my first hive, I began clearing an unused area in my yard of small trees and debris where I will place my bees. My plan is to plant 6-8 blackberry bushes and set my first bee hive in this area. This may sound like haphazard placement, but it is actually a well thought out plan (at least I think it is).

  • My bees will have access to plenty of pollen and nectar sources in the woods, several farm fields, and neighborhoods close by.
  • My hive will face south and have good southern exposure, but will also benefit from some broken shade during the hot summer afternoons.
  • Being next to the wood line will give my bees protection from wind and put them in a part of the yard that we rarely use so that they can work in peace.
  • Our property backs up to a wooded area with no agricultural fields in close proximity, so my bees will not have to endure any chemical overspray.
  • The hive will be only yards from my home and easily accessible on foot.
  • I will be able to easily view the hive daily from my driveway or inside my home to see if anything obvious is amiss.
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Cleared area of my yard where bee hive will be placed. Note the 3 bin homemade compost bin to the right. Cut debris still needs to be burned off when dry.

I’m really looking forward to receiving my hive so that I can begin painting, assembly, and placement. The next step is to secure bees. I’ve been researching the difference in Package Bees and Nucs, but haven’t made a decision yet (although I’m leaning toward a Nuc at this point). I plan to visit a friend of mine this week to check out his setup. He’s had bees for several years and currently has 7 hives.

I plan to document my adventures in beekeeping and look forward to sharing my efforts and discoveries here. For now, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my hive.

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