Tag Archives: Beehives

Books for Beekeepers

Books for Beekeepers

Thanks to a lot of the research that we’ve been doing, as well as the recent holidays, we’re starting to build a mini “bee library” of sorts.  Obviously there are a TON of books and information available about beekeeping, but we figured we’d share some thoughts on a few of our favorites thus far.

Books for Beekeepers

Beekeeping Book - Keeping Honey Bees

Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

This book was not only recommended to us by our local beekeeping community, but is also referenced in a number of other books we’ve read as well.

It does a really good job of covering all of the basics of beekeeping: from planning, to acquiring bees, to keeping your bees healthy, to harvesting honey.  It’s all in there.

If you’re going to purchase one beekeeping book, this should probably be it.

Beekeeping Book - Homegrown Honey BeesHomegrown Honey Bees

This book was given to us as a gift during the holidays, and has been a pleasant addition to the mix.

It differs from Storey’s in that it focuses purely on what you’ll come across during your first year as a beekeeper.  The chapters are even broken into chunks like “The First Month”, “The First Season”, etc.

Packed with tons of highly detailed photos, this is one we’ll definitely be referring to again and again this upcoming season.

Bee Book - Honey Crafting

Honey Crafting

Rumor has it that a single hive can produce 40-60 pounds of honey in a single season.  That’s a lot of honey!  Even if we gave some to everyone we know, we’d still be left with more than we could consume ourselves.

Enter “Honey Crafting” by Leeann Coleman and Jayne Barnes.  This book is structured like a cookbook for all the different things you can do with honey and beeswax.

From creating items for your home (ornaments, candles, etc.), to items for the body (soaps, lip balms, etc.), to delectable edibles (infused honey, savory and sweet recipes), this book provides over 75 different uses for your harvest.

This is one we plan on using for decades to come.

Beekeeping Book - ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture

ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture

Talk about everything you ever wanted to know about beekeeping!  This book was first published in 1877 and has over 40 editions that  have been released since then.

Over time the publishers have compiled an encyclopedia of information ranging from famous beekeepers to hive disorders to plants for bees and everything in between.  Simply flip open this book and you’re almost guaranteed to land on a page that will teach you something about beekeeping that you never knew before.

Where else can you learn about the effect of magnetic and electrical fields on bees immediately followed by information about mason bees?

These are just a few of our favorite beekeeping books so far.  What are some of yours?

 

Primed and ready

Once everything was constructed, we set about priming and painting the supers so that we could get them in place prior to the ground freezing.  We also didn’t want to be painting beehives or positioning our boxes in 3 feet of snow.  Better to be proactive!

We primed the boxes with two coats of white, outdoor primer, followed up with a “sky blue” finish.  Apparently bees aren’t fond of hives that are too dark, so we tried to keep it as “cheerful” as possible.

Painting beehives
The kids wanted to help paint as well

 

Painting supers
You see him roll’n

Helpful tip, rather than painting each box individually, stack them as you’d have them in the hive.  Then simply roll on the primer and paint.  It makes the entire process go exponentially faster, and all you need to do to keep the boxes from sticking together is reposition, or “crack” them before they dry.

Painted beehives
Ready and waiting

You’ll notice that we have 2 hives with 2 large supers and 2 medium supers.  When we actually get our bees we’ll start with only two large supers in each hive until the bees have some time to establish themselves.  For now we’re keeping the remaining boxes outside as well since we’d prefer to not keep them in the garage where there are gas/oil fumes that may deter the bees.

Ultimately we’ll store the extra equipment in a shed… which hasn’t been built yet (another project for the spring).

The supers have arrived!

Woo Hoo!  Earlier this season we picked up our supers and other equipment from Joe over at Country Barn Farms.  He’s a fantastic resource for anyone who has questions pertaining to raising bees.  He also sells equipment and local queens.  Highly recommend.

Unassembled beehive supers
Lots and lots of pieces

As you can see , everything arrived unassembled.  So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work assembling supers and frames.

Finished frame with white foundation
Finished frame with white foundation

We opted for frames with foundation so that there’s a base for the bees to start.  Black foundation for the brood frames (where the queen lays the eggs), white foundation for the the honey frames.

The kids also got in on the fun.

Kids building bee supers
Our oldest wielding a hammer

As much as we’re using our first few hives as a learning experience for us, we’d also like it to be a learning experience for the kids.  So I put the boxes together, glued them, and put the nails where they needed to be, then the kids went to work.

 

 

By the end of the day, we had everything assembled and ready for the next phase… priming and painting.

Assembled supers
Ta-da!