The day the bees arrive is growing near! Just three weeks remain in order to get the apiary prepared and the hive prepared. Yesterday Will and I ventured to a suburb of Columbus to Conrad Hive and Honey to pick up our order which we placed a few weeks ago; Barry Conrad is a leader in the Central Ohio Beekeeper Association and a trusted source for beekeeping equipment.
We brought our hive components back home and began to prepare the hives. The hive boxes and other components are usually made of pine. The exterior of the boxes, lid, and other components must be treated against the weather. Some people stain their hives, others paint the hives; we selected to keep them natural and to seal them with Polyurethane. Once dry, this will protect the hives for a number of years before they may have to be replaced.
The apiary area of the yard, as I have mentioned is a garden bed that I have decided not to use. It is between two lilac bushes which will provide a wind break, a flight path diversion and a delicious snack for the early foraging bees. We are using remnants of a fence repair to provide a base for the hive, along with three cinder blocks (which we will probably take down to two for additional ventilation). To provide a further wind break as well as a bit of camouflage from the neighbors (out of sight, out of mind), we placed a twig and branch fence that we purchased from a local nursery on clearance from last year ($149 last year, this year closed out at $20 each!). We will probably plant a vining vegetable in front of this “fence” such as beans to provide additional flowers, food, wind protection, flight path direction and subterfuge!
As I write this, the hive is drying completely and will be placed out in the yard next weekend to await their eagerly awaited, buzzing residents!