For those of you who aren't familiar with this style of hive, these are Warré hives. They are a bit different in both construction and philosophy than the style of hive commonly seen. (To see photos of the unique features of the Warré hive plus why I chose it, click here.)
I started with the one hive last spring, and planned to add two more this year. I bought that first kit off of eBay and was very happy with it. It was not only the most economical, but also the only one with a screened bottom board. Screened bottom boards are helpful for controlling varroa mites, because when the mites fall off the bees they fall through the screen and can't climb back on again. This time I couldn't find a listing from the same seller.
There are plenty of other offerings, but I procrastinated on making a decision. I'd go look at various hives from time to time, and then one day there they were. Another listing from my original seller, but this time it was a set of two hives. Exactly what I wanted. Best of all, the hive boxes came with observation windows!
|Observation windows will let me check on comb|
building progress and other activity in the hive.
Warré beekeepers refrain from opening the hive often, but we still have to know what's going on inside in order to make sure everything is okay and know when to add more boxes!
Assembling them was the biggest job, but there is more to do to get ready:
Bee pickup day is March 19. I have to tell you that even ordering the bees was another gift of providence. I rarely go by the county beekeeping supply store, but one day I happened to and noticed they were having a sale on package bees. I got two packages for a discount!
|The almond tree has just started to bloom. I'm|
wondering if there will be any left by bee day.
The other way to get bees (free ones) is to either set up bait hives or capture swarms. Until we got ours, I rarely saw honeybees around and never a swarm, so I'm not confident I'd get anything that way. I do plan to get more equipment, however, so maybe I'll try a bait hive next year.