Adventures in Beekeeping: Bee Preparation

Posted by on April 8, 2013 at 6:15 am.

Yesterday was a busy day, for this soon to be beekeeper.

I exchanged several emails with the president of Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, Roger Williams. He did such a great job of taking the time to answer my questions in long/detailed emails that by the time I chatted with one of the potential mentors that agreed to help newbies, I didn’t have too many questions left to ask! However, my bee mentor did a wonderful job giving me some helpful information and clearing up some of my anxiety about purchasing hives. Thanks so much you two! Thanks to Garden Diaries, my local bee mentor, I’ve decided to go with one of the preassembled Langstroth hive. I’ll purchase it from a local beekeeper.

Yesterday my daughter, our dog, and I spent most of our day outside. The weather was gorgeous. Which made perfect weather for playing and strolling around our property.

Tilled garden

Part of our tilled garden

 

I checked on the recently tilled garden

Collard plants

Collard plants

 

And was happy to see that the collards are coming along nicely.

One of our strawberry plants

A few of our strawberry plants

 

We also have a row of strawberry plants. The thing about strawberries is you have to pick them as soon as they start turning pink. If you wait the birds will eat them.

Our Shih Tzu: Mr. Bentley

Our Shih Tzu: Mr. Bentley

 

And then Mr. Bentley and I made a trek near our woods to check out the area where I’ll be putting the beehives. My daughter was too engrossed in her blacktop chalk art to join our adventure.

Adding more honeybee friendly plants

I still have a lot of planting to do, and later this week I’ll be heading back to the nursery to purchase more bee friendly plants. I know that bees can travel long distance looking for nectar, but if I can… I’ll reduce some of their travel time by making some of their favorite plants readily available in our yard. I don’t have to purchase too many plants, since our yard is already bee-friendly. I adore bees and over the years, I’ve added numerous plants to attract them to our location. Did you know that honeybees make several trips to the hive each day since they can’t carry all that nectar/pollen in one trip?

I’ve already planted bee friendly wild flowers close to the woods and I’m planning to plant additional flowers close to the hives. There’s a water source close by the hive so they won’t have far to go to get their drink of water.

Enticing the honeybees; discouraging pests

I’ve decided at the base of the beehive(s) I most likely will sprinkle the area with diatomaceous earth to discourage ants from trying to visit the hive.  Or I might just use cinnamon, since I know ants detest the stuff. We have large and small ants in our area. I adore ants, but I don’t want them to take over the beehive so I need to be proactive. Also, to make the new hive more “honeybee friendly” I’m also thinking of spraying the hive with lemongrass essential oil, honeybees love the smell and perhaps that will help in making their new hive feel like “home”. One of the benefits of being an aromatherapist is that I have plenty of essential oils on hand that can be used for numerous things.

Holistic approach to beekeeping

Additionally, this season I’ll be experimenting with various aromatherapy blends to deter the various pests that can plague honeybees. Although not the same thing, I’ve used a variety of herbs/aromatherapy blends on our furbabies and various critters that inhabit our yard with much success.

 

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