On April 18, 2015, we acquired our first “livestock”at Slippery Slopes Farm…. all 10,000 of them. We decided to build a top bar hive using a 55 gallon plastic barrel, some scrap wood, and a piece of corrugated metal.
The bees are Italians, which we purchased from Larry Marks in Bloomfield, KY back in February for an April arrival. Our goal for the first year was to simply keep the bees alive and keep them in our hive!
Our bees were doing fantastic until we hit about a 6 week drought in September, 2015. We noticed the colony started looking smaller, so we put out some sugar water to try to feed them. Unfortunately, it was too late and the entire colony absconded. Come to find out, with a second hive, we might have avoided this problem. So, in 2016, we started with 2 hives. We spent our time over the winter researching and building our own Langstroth hives which may be better suited to our conditions and allow us to collect honey in the first year. In 2016, we ordered our honey bees from Dadant and Son, Inc, which has a branch nearby in Frankfort, KY. We also purchased our frames and foundations there. Follow this post for updates on our second season of honeybee-ing!
Some fantastic books on beekeeping:
Here is a quick video of Trent building one of our brood boxes. We made a jig on a handmade sled for our table saw. We have a 3/8″ dado blade on for the finger joints. To see more videos, follow us on vine – @ssfarmky – or click on the link at the top right to redirect to our youtube channel.
Round 2 of beekeeping began on April 16, 2016 with the installation of two new hives + bees! Here is a video of Trent installing the bees… the little box that he puts in has the queen in it. In a few days we will check back and make sure she has eaten her way out of that box and officially made the hive her home. The metal can is filled with sugar water which we will leave out for extra food until the bees empty it.