I still haven't gotten my bees home. I will not be able to rest until I do! The UPS tracking number says my gear should arrive today, but I am still looking for them to come. It doesn't matter anyway. Brandon had a squirrel hunting trip scheduled with a buddy from work, so I can't get out there today. It's raining a little too. Surely tomorrow I can get them home.
The gentleman who is giving me these bees is very anxious for me to get them home and ready for winter. It has only been a week since he contacted me about it (my initial call was nearly a month ago, and at first he turned me down), so I really can't help that it is taking awhile for me to get my gear and get out there. Brushy Mountain shipped my gear really quickly too, which is great. I've had my site picked out, leveled and set up for several days. I am just as anxious to go get them too.
Being my first hands-on experience with bees, I would not have chosen to do it this way if I could have had more control over the circumstances. It is the off season to be doing this and these bees should have been winterized by now. Another downfall in taking on an existing set up is that the hive boxes are old and not in the best shape. He has given me a second piece on everything, including extra supers. I am really going to need them too.
I can't wait to get the hive home and opened up so I can see what's going on in there. From outward appearances it seems to be a very strong colony. When we lifted the box to set it back upright, it was very heavy. Every bit of 70 lbs or better, so they have themselves stocked up with honey for winter. I am hoping they are healthy and that this will work out for me.
After I initially thought I was not going to get any bees from this gentleman, I got online and looked for plans to build my own hive boxes. If you buy everything outright from a catalog, the cost is prohibitive for someone like me. But I have found plans for a top-bar hive that with a little elbow-grease will only run me around $50. I am all for do-it-yourself. I currently have no intentions to sell honey anytime soon, so the reduced output of a top-bar hive is not a deterrent for me. And the ease and sustainability of managing a top-bar hive is definitely a plus.
This is truly a new adventure. I cannot rest until I get these bees home and winterized!