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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bee Day--April 10

Dear Amazon Bee People,

For most of us, the day to install our new bees will be Saturday, April 10. Bees can actually be picked up at Glory Bee on the 9th, but there will be more help available for getting them into the hives Saturday.

I plan to drive out to Glory Bee about 9am Saturday to fetch bees in my vehicle and am happy to pick up anybody's bees if they ask. Anyone wishing to ride along and help is also most welcome!

Installing the bees is easy...especially if the hive is already setup, leveled, etc. in advance. When we distribute hives next week, hive hosters/keepers should set aside time to find a spot, get them setup and ready, etc. Choose a sunny spot, preferably facing east or south, not directly in front of a human traffic area.

If those with hives could please email to let me know when it would be most convenient to bring bees by on Saturday, I'll try to work up a schedule. Since we have 10 hives to do, we'll have to be efficient! Also, please let me know if you'd like to join the bee crew doing the actual's fun and simple, albeit a little unnerving the first time.

Anyone with a conflict Saturday should try to let me know ASAP so that we can work around it.

Best regards,


Monday, March 22, 2010

12 More Boxes....and a great website

Lise and I made up 12 more supers today. We worked and she told me a little about boating adventures on a number of excellent rivers in the West. We passed the time easily.

Here's a great website for beekeeping information. It's maintained by a sensible fellow genuinely concerned for the welfare of his bees. He hits on number of points which seem to be also addressed by the type of hives we're setting up to use.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

IMPORTANT: Bee Orders Due by April 2

Attention all Amazon Bee People! VERY IMPORTANT

Everyone wishing to get bees needs to order from Glory Bee by April 2 for pickup April 9.

To place orders please call the Glory Bee factory store at (800) 456-7923 x110.

I recommend you get the Carnolian in a 3 lbs package. 2 lbs are a little less, but the extra pound only costs about $12 more and will get your hive off to a faster start.

Please call me if you have any questions! 541.543.6458

Hive Day Off To a Great Start

Thanks to some solid effort, we (Dan, Lise, and David) got a huge amount of work done toward construction of the 10 hives we've committed to build.

We picked up materials on Friday at a cost of about $60/hive (includes 4 supers)...all of nice Western Red Cedar with oak top bars. We looked at redwood too, but it was a little spendy and not sized optimally for our adventures.

Saturday Dan and I cut the 2x10's to length, anxious to get them indoors ahead of the rain forecast for Sunday. We made it!

Sunday we started off with scones, coffee, and eggs and then got busy thickness planing the various pieces down to their final 1 3/8 thickness. Dan's a marvel at setting up shop for efficient production, so the work went much (much) faster than it would have without him. Dan did most of the cutting and rabbeting on the table saw. We planed together. Then Dan did the roof pieces and cut the oak top bars while Lise and I glued up boxes...which look great! We finished 13 supers (only 32 left to go!)

With nearly all of the milling behind us, the assembly will go relatively quickly from this point on. More hands will be exceedingly welcome as we do the rest of the assembly, sanding, and finishing.

Photos coming soon!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hive Building Day!

We'll be building hives this Sunday, March 20...probably most of the day. We're going to try and get eight built....which would be a great success.

We're making them after the Warre model (see here: The finished products look like the ones in the photo here. They're bee-friendly, easy to make, and require no special materials.

We'll have a good time! More photos soon.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let's Make It Happen!

Honeybees are amazing! These lovely, gentle, and industrious creatures account for upwards of 80% of the pollination required for human food crop production. Happy and healthy bees are essential to our own survival.

Bees have also had a very difficult time in recent years. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has resulted in a decrease of up to 40% of the bee population. Many experts agree that CCD is probably not caused by a single factor, but more likely by a combination of increasing pressures on honeybees including radical inbreeding for commercial purpose, use of pesticides, over-harvesting of honey, and too frequent relocation of hives.

Though no hard statistics exist, many non-commercial beekeepers report substantially better fortunes with their hives in recent years than do commercial keepers. Keeping a beehive as part of your garden can offer bees a more bee-centric place to live, one less subject to the pressures associated with commercial beekeeping.

By creating a Bee Co-Op for the Amazon Neighborhood, we can play a small role in supporting our own local bee population by directly increasing the number of colonies in the neighborhood. A co-op approach has a number of benefits:

  • It’s more fun. Bees are a lot of fun. Sharing fun with others is always better than having fun alone.
  • It’s easier to support a healthy network of hives. Hive losses do occur. When a small individual beekeeper loses a hive, sometimes it’s necessary to wait an entire year to restart. Working with others makes it easier to share bees as a means of supporting weak hives or even to build new colonies from existing ones.
  • Work is easier. Though bees are really simple to keep (you mostly leave them alone!), it’s nice to have an extra pair of hands around when you do work with them. Some beekeeping activities like harvesting honey and swarm management tend to happen all at once, making more help a welcome thing.
  • We can share expertise. We all learn by doing. Different hives present different challenges and hence learning opportunities. Sharing experience means more success and happier bees.
  • Costs of keeping bees go down. We can share effort and expertise required to build hives for the cost of materials and can share hive supers (the ‘stories’ or ‘levels’ which make up hives) as well as other equipment such as gloves, veils, smokers, honey harvesting gear, etc.
  • We can help more people enjoy bees. A co-op approach will enable more people to keep bees themselves and will help some people to simply host hives kept by others.