The beekeeping journey begins.

I have a bee in my bonnet. Well, actually a couple thousand if you’re counting. Almost two weeks ago we took a short road trip to visit Don, the Fat Bee Man, and to pick up our bees. And so the beekeeping journey begins.

 

Don, the Fat Bee Man, showed us around his bee yard, containing some 400 hives of every color. He runs Dixie Bee Supply, in Lula, Ga. and can be found all over the internet, especially on YouTube, sharing his expertise. Check him out.

Don opened several hives and shared bits and pieces of information first hand with us. It’s amazing how much you can learn in such short period of time my seeing it in person. Don is a wealth of knowledge, having been around bees since a young boy. The bees he tends are italian/russian hybrids, known for their more docile behavior, but they’re productive too.

We were there to pick up two nucs, which are basically a new mini-hive that are somewhat established. He transferred the nucs into our larger hive boxes. Don showed us the queens in each hive, who we named Gabriella and Svetlana.

They made it to their new home alive, and are now settled in working hard.

For the time being we feed and watch. In addition to some of their own honey, they eat sugar water we provide in feeders, a simple combination of equal parts water and sugar. I’ve found myself mesmerized with the comings and goings so far of our new little friends. They are busy at work finding pollen and keeping the hive well. Hopefully we’ll be adding another box in the next little while. I’ll be sure to share more pictures as we follow their progress.

While I’d like to think we’ll have some honey this year, my hopes are mainly to help them maintain healthy, happy hives. Maybe I’ll sing to them? Or not.

Hope you’re enjoying this wonderful spring!

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Congratulations Amy! My dad will be happy when he hears you went to Don. He’s so proud of his gentle bees. We have a nuc right now too, which is good since we lost a hive over the terrible winter. You might like to try Honey Bee Healthy, I did a little post on it a while back that I can send to you with a recipe.

  2. 2

    Robyn | Add a Pinch says

    I’m so proud of y’all. I would just sit and watch them all day long. Can’t wait to hear more about your new babies.

  3. 4

    says

    Congratulations! This is such an exciting journey you’re on! We’ve been thinking about getting a bee hive for our garden, too, and doing a lot of research and planning. I was curious, do you have lots of flowering plants in your garden? Do you have blooms year round? I am really nervous about not having enough pollen for them to play with, so was wondering what preparations you made for your new babies.

    Best of luck!

    • 5

      says

      Hey PienarySystem!

      From what I understand, bees get a good amount of the pollen from trees. They can fly long distances for pollen so I wouldn’t worry so much about having an overabundance of flowering plants right close to the hives. Buuuuut, you may want to read more about that and not take my word for it. I’m still learning as we go.

      ~ Amy

  4. 9

    says

    This is my third year keeping bees. It is amazing to watch them fly in and out like airplanes on runways. You’ll have honey soon. Did he tell you about Honey boxes to add to top? Once my nucs were in, it was a short time before adding the Queen excluder and then honey box…good luck & I’ll watch your journey.
    ML

    • 10

      says

      Hey ML!

      Yep, we’re planning on adding the next box this week sometime. Watching for all the signs that they are ready for the next one. It’s so interesting to just sit back and watch them do all the work.

      ; )

      ~ Amy

  5. 16

    says

    I’m so excited for you that you got your bees! My great-grandpa use to be a bee-keeper and my dad always tells us stories about how fun it was to see the hives. It was really great memories for him as a boy. I hope you enjoy your bees and your delicious honey!

  6. 17

    says

    Super, super cool, Amy. I’ve been waiting for an update on your busy little friends.
    I’ve certainly thought about bees as a project for the future for us. We just got chickens today, though (!) so one thing at a time, right?

  7. 18

    says

    i cannot wait to hear all about your bee adventures Amy – you are gonna ‘be’ a great beekeeper!! and yes, i do think you should sing to them . . . oh yes, i do . . .

  8. 20

    says

    I love the names you gave the queens, and I am so excited for you! Loved seeing this go from an idea to reality!

  9. 22

    says

    How exciting! I’m interested to read all about your adventures. My grandfather had a neighbor who kept bees. We were always terrified to go anywhere near them. I don’t expect to see any videos of bee attacks like April and Clay posted!

  10. 23

    says

    My sister and I were just chatting about beekeeping yesterday! I have a question. How far out on your property are you keeping the bees? What about kids and dogs? What are you thoughts on this? Would you ever recommend them in an “average” yard?

    • 24

      says

      Hey Kathy!

      Our bee hives are about 90-100 ft from our house on the edge of the woods. They like morning sun and afternoon shade.

      As far as dogs and kids, from what I’ve read, it’s good to plant a screen of plants a few feet in front of the entrance to the hive, since bees fly in straight lines they will fly out of the hive and go straight up and return in the same manner, avoiding any creatures, human or otherwise.

      I’d totally recommend them in an “average” yard, as long as it complies with any neighborhood restrictions/covenants of course. There’s tons of information online if you’re thinking about beekeeping or grab a good beekeeping book from your local library. At the very least it’s good reading – it’s all quite interesting and educational!

      ~ Amy

  11. 25

    says

    Amy! You are so, so cool! I’d love to come see your bees!!!

    A couple of years ago, we had a swarm in our back yard. They were there for about 24 hours….just in this CLUMP right near one of our trees. The beekeeper was on his way and we were SO excited to watch him and…boom….the bees flew away 5 minutes before he got there. That’s my bee story.

  12. 26

    says

    Very exciting. My husband was a beekeeper as a young boy and I think he’d love to do it again. Maybe I’ll have to put a bee in his bonnet about starting up that hobby again! Congratulations on your new additions!

  13. 27

    says

    Holy Smokes! That is some serious bee business! You are a brave woman my friend..I am pretty sure I would run away in fear! All I know about bees I learned from Bee Movie, so I am excited to learn more through your narrative, as opposed to Jerry Seinfeld ;)

  14. 28

    says

    Congrats on your new venture! I can’t wait to hear more about as time goes on. Local honey (especially if it’s your own!) is so much better. Good luck!

  15. 30

    says

    Wow! My aunt and uncle had bees until they went crazy and swarmed them and my mom while they were fishing near where the bee boxes were. It was really weird, they had them for several years with no problem. It was so nice having the honey. I’ll have fun reading about your journey. Hopefully it will go smooth as honey:-)

  16. 38

    says

    Wow Amy. What a great adventure you are embarking on. I’m excited to live vicariously through you.
    In Seattle there is someone who essentially started a bee CSA. You provide the land to put the hive on and the bee keeper (?) will come and take care of everything. In return you get honey. Great right?! Someday when we have more than a 5 feet square for a yard I’ll look more into it.

    • 39

      says

      Ooooh Ashley!

      That sounds like a fantastic idea, a bee CSA. Hope someone starts that around here.

      ~ Amy

  17. 41

    says

    This is AWESOME! I am so happy that we get to go on this little adventure with you! I laughed every time you wrote, the Fat Bee Man! LOL And he isn’t wearing any gear, oh my!! Are you going to wear all the gear?

  18. 43

    says

    how cool is that! I’ll admit I’m a little frightened by bees. But if they’re docile, then I guess I could hang with them! :)

    congrats on your hives!

  19. 44

    linda says

    Hello

    I just received my bees on Sunday in a nuc…Very exciting…

    Where did you purchase your hive boxes??

    Good Luck…

  20. 46

    Michelle says

    SO cool and I like the style of the hives too. I was going to do some beekeeping about 15 years ago and I still think about it.

  21. 47

    says

    How exciting! It would be so awesome to be able to get fresh honey right from your own backyard. I look forward to seeing how things progress with the bees!

  22. 48

    says

    Awwww, what cure little, sweet bees! Congratulations on your new little bundle of bees. You’ll BEE a fabulous BEE mama, I just know it!

  23. 50

    says

    Honey bees are near and dear to my heart. My grandparents, the propreitors of the “old” Friends Drift Inn, kept dozens of hives in the orchards. I am always amazed by the differences in honey…different blossoms produce varied flavors. Two of my favorite beekeepers, Abigail Keam and Tammy Horn are both guest posting this week on my blog. Abigail’s Honey Pear Salad was on Monday. Tammy has a honey chocolate pie coming up later this week. Have fun with your bees….I am so envious!

  24. 51

    says

    Amy, this is so incredibly cool! I can’t wait to hear more about how it all goes. You pick some great names out for your queens as well. Congrats on your addition to the family!

  25. 54

    says

    Wow, how exciting! I can’t wait to see how things progress. Um, as a sidenote, I’m so totally jealous-wish we had a space to do this.

  26. 55

    says

    Welcome to the beekeeping world! My husband and I have 2 hives … 1 established, and 1 new as of last week. We’ll be robbing the established hive next weekend, and I’ll put pictures up on my blog soon. You’ll so enjoy having your own honey supply!

  27. 57

    says

    How great that you are starting bee hives! I find them fascinating and I appreciate all they contribute to our food production, plus I love honey!
    The names you chose for the queens are definitely regal. Look forward to hearing more about how it is going.

  28. 58

    says

    How cool! We are actually starting beekeeping also :) We just got our hive started this week. I will be interested to follow along with yours and see how it goes. Good luck with the bee keeping!

  29. 59

    says

    I’ve heard before that bees love music. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’d like to think they’d love it if you sang to them and played guitar. I’m so excited for you. I could never keep bees because I’m allergic, but I sure would buy the heck out of your honey!

  30. 61

    says

    I love hearing that you are taking up beekeeping because it is so important to the entire ecosystem. It’s amazing the effect a tiny insect can have. Thanks for keeping the beekeeping tradition alive and I hope you are able to enjoy some tasty rewards :)

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