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Hives are built and set up!


Greetings, All!

I put together our Beethinking top-bar hives a couple of weeks ago and they’ve been sitting in our family room waiting for a decent weekend when we had the opportunity to put them out. We did so today.

We went back and forth about where to put them. It wasn’t as though we are limited on space, but we wanted to take into consideration things like where the grandkids like to play when they are here, morning sun, mowing around them, etcetera.

In the end we opted to put one hive between two trees (cherry and apple) and the other on the other side of the apple. They are facing south. This was in part to minimize mowing impact for my wife. I don’t know if the positioning will help with a bit of mid-day shade or not during the summer, but we’ll see. Does anyone think the location between the trees and with a tree in front of one will be a problem?

One thing I realized is that we’ll never be able to put those hives where they can be seen from a road. Around here we have people willing to break in to electrical power stations to try to steal copper wire from live circuits (and often regret it, if they live) so I doubt bees would be much of a deterrent.

After setting them up and getting them level we went ahead and baited them with lemongrass oil. Although there were a few bees foraging around our feet while we worked (small flowers in the grass were attracting their attention) we don’t expect the weather to warm up enough for serious bee traffic until after Easter, I think. But we baited it anyway. 

I did decide I needed to tie down the hives somehow. The method I came up with was to use an auger-style tie-down point (purchased at Tractor Supply in their trailer section) and ratcheting tie-down straps. We’ve had trees broken on our property from storms last year, so I don’t want to take any chances. After coming up with this plan I found that Christy Hemenway has a Youtube video about preparing a top-bar hive for winter winds using the same method with a dog tie-out point.

Next up is beekeeping school starting the first Wednesday of April. We get our first package from a member of the association we joined April 19th, a couple of days after school ends. I’ve also ordered a package from Gold Star Honeybees, but won’t get those until mid-May as earlier shipping dates conflicted with a trip I have planned. Actually, I may be asking if I can get an earlier shipping date as I’ve just learned that my original plans have to change.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!



My wife bringing out one of the hives:


Myself with the second hive:


And the hives in their new locations:



Tango Yankee,

Looking stellar! I think the location is just fine. A bit of mid-day shade is great where you’re located.




Thanks, Matt!

Today we had the first sunny day since we put up the hives. I’m a bit concerned that the hives don’t seem to get much sun until after 10 AM due to the pines to the right of where they are located. We’re supposed to have another sunny day tomorrow and I’m going to watch how it does. Of course, as we get later into the season the sun will be up earlier and will be farther north, which should combine to get sun on the hives earlier.

I was considering moving the hives to the left in the photo to get clear of the shadows of the pines, but for now will go ahead and see what happens sun-wise. We do have a few weeks until we get our first package of bees. We start beekeeping school on Wednesday! We’re pretty excited about it.




Quick update: We haven’t been out to look closely at the hives since we put them out last weekend. Rhonda just went out to show our visiting granddaughters the hives. She opened them up, and discovered that both of them were being prepped for use as bird nests!!!

She’s putting in the entrance reducers and we’ll be checking on them frequently from now on.




Later on I saw a couple of bluebirds checking out the modified entrances. I guess the hole in the reducer is just a bit smaller than they prefer. One was hanging on to the reducer and checking out the entrance. Rhonda was out shopping with her father so I sent her a text and asked her to pick up bluebird houses. She brought back two, which I set up with the help of our oldest granddaughter. I hope they find them and move in!




Another update…

There is a nest and four eggs in one of the bluebird houses we put up when we cleared out the nesting materials from our hives.

The pickup of our first package has been delayed by a week, so instead of this Friday it will be the next.

The shipping date of our second package is up in the air at this time, probably be May 2nd.