Saturday, January 21, 2017


Today was the 2017 Austin Area Beekeeper's Association 6th Annual Seminar, and my brain is FULL!! I went with my friend and next-door neighbor Zaga who is also api-curious, and by noon, she was hooked. As you may know, I walked into the seminar already the proud owner of two complete hives, plans and parts for a third, and three nucs (nuclear colonies--one of the ways of getting new bees and a queen) on order. When we got back from lunch Zaga bit the bullet and ordered a nuc--many places around us are already sold out so she needed to move quickly if she wanted to keep bees this year. I also said, "What the heck, they're selling varroa resistant queens and nucs for a really good price."And I ordered another nuc. Now I am short a hive so I am going to need to either buy or build one more. I think I'll buy, and I think I'll go for another Langstroth hive. Zaga also chose Langstroth so we will have three Langstroth hives, one Kenyan Top-Bar, and one Honey Flow. Some of you might remember that this current bee thing originally started a couple of years ago now when I contributed to the Honey Flow Kickstarter campaign. Now look, *five hives* coming on-line this spring!

In today's seminars we learned about bee biology, essential equipment, how to set-up your apiary, month by month management, the basics of integrated pest management and queen-finding, and at the end of the day, we learned to extract honey with a live demonstration. We also learned the mating habits of bees including the fact that the drone bees explode after mating! I thought male black widows had it bad...

Along the way we also learned about Africanized bees in Texas and how to manage the genetics of your hive, nutrition management from feeding sugar syrup to making pollen patties for protein supplement, and how to sample for varroa mites. We were in the beginner track all day so we missed mead making, queen rearing, and customizing and printing your own honey labels, (among other topics) but I figure we can come back next year for those.

A honey super with 10 medium frames,
 shown on its side, ready for extraction
I end the day on a bee high, and with the memory in my mind of visiting friends Bill and Bridget in California many years ago, buying a book on beekeeping, and stating my intent then to raise bees. It has taken awhile, but the dream is coming alive. Honey anyone?

1 comment:

Bill said...

Now when Dave calls you "honey", he'll really mean it!