This Spring I knocked off one of my long standing to do's - free range bees! Just kidding well - sort of. We started two hives of honey bees.

My dad has kept bees for the majority of my adult life - sadly a turn in his health has left about 20 empty hives. He was kind enough to let me have two hives, some gear and a good amount of knowledge. I've spent the past year reading and talking to bee keepers.

Bees are amazing little critters. They are smart, organized and most importantly directly involved with pollination for food production. I like to eat and the bees are dying off. So my wife and I decided it was time we did our part to help them out. Even if we never harvest a drop of honey it is worth our time and effort to save the bees.....but don't get me wrong we have full intention to harvest the honey too!

I'm writing this as an encouragement to any who might be considering doing this. I'm by no means an expert and I have many hard lessons to learn but I'd like to share the process of getting a purchased box bees into a new hive. It was very straight forward. Everyone has an opinion on how to do it right. I've found Mr. Bush of Bush Bees Natural Beekeeping site to be extremely helpful resource.

Step 1: Set Up the Frames

Frames are the inserts we put in hive boxes to give the bees a road map of where to put the honey and brood will go. 10 frames will go in the brood boxes - or the bottom two sections of the hive.

We decided to use a wax foundation in our frames. This is a thin small honey comb on a wire frame that is nailed into the frame.

A utility knife is used to remove a pre cut piece of wood that holds the foundation to the frame.

I used small 5/8 inch brad nails with 30# of pressure to knock out the frames.

<p>Just started to look up everything for beekeeping, and I am very glad to have found these instructions! Thanks from AZ</p>
<p>here is an other good one</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Harvesting-Honey/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Harvesting-Honey/</a></p>
<p>Wonderful - I would love to see photos of your setup after you get it going!</p>
<p>Really good</p>
<p>Excellent info, and beautiful photos to boot. What a great instructable, as always!</p><p>I knew nothing about beekeeping prior to reading this, and found this very interesting. Thank you!</p>
<p>Thank you for the kind words and all the hard work you put in for this site!</p>
<p>Very nice instructable!<br>I hope this will inspire others to keep bees themselves, also for the sake of our crops.</p>
<p>If some would have to start from scratch, how much would it cost to set something like this up and how much would it cost for things needed to harvest the honey.</p><p>And how much would it cost to continue this.</p><p>It sounds like it is very easy to keep bees and thank you for showing this to us.</p><p>Thank you.</p>
I want a hive when I get beck to the US. I've been helping a friend with his hive.
<p>Im near a lot of pine trees that are loaded with pollen with this give a bad taste to the honey?</p>
<p>Pine trees are wind pollinated, so therefore bees are not interested. However, they may be affected by normal dust in the windy air. Can you locate the hives well away from these trees?</p>
<p>Honeybees will indeed collect Pine pollen. </p><p>When I was a college student I worked for a couple years at a USDA Bee research facility in Arizona, our particular project was identifying chemical cues in pollen that bees liked, to let us make more palatable artificial bee diet. </p><p>We had hives scattered all around the city and nearby wildlands that we collected pollen from. When pines were in bloom we collected a ton of it.</p><p>One of my jobs was sorting the pollen loads from the collectors. Since a single bee will only collect pollen from a single species on any given trip, each little blob is a single species, and can be separated based on color (I became VERY good at differentiating subtly different shades of yellow!) which we then identified microscopically. </p><p>Bees will collect a wide range of wind-pollinated species, especially when there's a lot of it.</p>
<p>Very interesting, Not something that I've come across before, As mentioned, pollen is accurately identified microscopically, although colour can be used as a general guide. Bees will certainly visit pines for resin. Bees also 'inadvertently' collect pollen electrostatically. I wonder if the pollen was the primary goal? I suppose is must have been since I have seen that bees carry resin in their pollen baskets. We never cease to learn about bees!</p>
<p>Very often pine trees get covered in aphids or other sap sucking insects that secrete a sugary substance that we call 'honeydew'. In some countries honeydew honey is premium and is priced much higher than flower honey, though I personally don't like the taste. Also, in some countries beekeepers even intentionally spread the sap sucking insects to pine forests and then move their beehives there to get the honeydew honey.</p>
<p>Bush doesn't recommend smoking or spraying a package of bees when installing in a hive. The bees are surrounding the queen in her cage and if everything is right with them, they should be fairly docile when doing an installation.</p>
<p>If you are going to do this, you need to be prepared for the costs and time commitment that go along with keeping the bees healthy. You need to spray medicate against mites and fungus on a regular schedule. A recent review of the massive loss in bees over the last year actually found that beekeeping hobbyists neglecting these duties was a major culprit. Mites and fungus spreading from improperly maintained hives to wild ones result in the death of the wild hive.</p>
<p>thanks for sharing your new hobby! When I was younger, I wanted to try my hand at it. It wasn't possible for me, but I love hearing about people who get to do it. Very good luck!</p>
<p> That was just wonderful, I might have even cried a bit on the end. :)</p>
<p>Re:'If the queen runs out of room in the bottom brood boxes your bees will &quot;swarm&quot; and find a bigger house.'</p><p>Swarm occurs if new Queen emergies in the hive, to prevent take sealed Queen cell out with a few workers and place in a nursery hive. You can also add a brood box if all frames are carrying sealed lava. Then when 2nd brood box populated, develop new queeen and split hive = extra hive</p>
<p>Nice job. I shake the majority of the bees out of the package when I hive a package. I then set the mostly empty package in front of the hive so the bees left inside can easily find their way out.</p><p>I'm not a glove wearer. I find that it is too easy to smash a bee if I have gloves on. I also think that it makes me much more deliberate in my movements and keeps me aware of where my hands are amongst all those little stinging insects.</p>
<p>Great Instructable!</p>
<p>Great guide. thanks a lots!</p>
do you stack 2of the boxes on top of each other and is the bottom open
<p>The supers are stacked on top of the other two boxes. And yes the bottom is open.</p>
<p>how much they cost</p>
<p>Typically a box of bees runs about $100-$125.</p>
<p>the bees</p>
<p>This is a great instructable. My wife is interested in getting bees and collecting the honey and wax for home use. Thanks. </p>
<p>where did you get your neat sign &quot;No Trespassing Bees&quot;?</p>
<p>Great instructable! But don't forget the most important step: join a local bee club! The resources and information available are amazing!</p>
<p>I agree!</p>
<p>Great information.</p><p>Thank You for Sharing !</p>
<p>Thanks for the kind words!</p>
<p>I've been interested in beekeeping for a while now. Great Instructable!</p>
Funny thing with kids. You can yell at them all day to stay off the roof, don't put a fork in the power outlet, look both ways before crossing the street. They jist don't listen.<br><br>But only have to say to keep away from the bee hive once.
<p>We have a saying from one of his books.....&quot;Don't pet the bees&quot;</p>
<p>Thanks for the instructable. We need more people to get involved, with saving the bees. I started beekeeping, last year. I went a slightly different route. </p><p> I started February, of last year, reading and reading and reading. Then I started, building. I built some deep hive bodies, and a swarm trap (yes, there is a book for that). I was too late, to order bees, so I went with free bees, and caught my own (see swarm trap). I didn't want to wait, until this year. </p><p> Last summer, was a learning experience. I caught a nice colony. They were very forgiving. I didn't force the honey thing, and left my girls with plenty of stores, for the winter. I'm dealing with the aftermath, of a mouse invasion, but I'm hoping for a full recovery. And, hoping for another swarm or two. </p>
<p>I should build one of those traps.</p>
<p>did you mention anything about cost ? nice job, thanks, mike</p>
<p>Good call - sine my dad hooked me up with his old equipment my cost was less than others. <br><br>The bees cost me $100 per box.<br><br>Dadant has beginner bee hive kits that are around $300 including a veil and gloves. http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=90&amp;products_id=827</p>
<p>That last link was ugly - this one should be clickable:<br><br><a href="http://bit.ly/1GP3Bpl" rel="nofollow">http://bit.ly/1GP3Bpl</a></p>
<p>Where did you buy the bees, from which site?</p>
<p>Ours came from a friend of my dad at Busy Bee Apiaries. He is local to their house and about 2 hrs from me. A real mom and pop operation (literally). <br><br>They can be found at: <a href="http://www.ncagr.gov/ncproducts/ShowSite.asp?ID=2086" rel="nofollow">http://www.ncagr.gov/ncproducts/ShowSite.asp?ID=20...</a></p>
<p>Well written instructable with great clear pictures and well thought out steps. Couple things I might throw in there though. The screen bottom board is for ventilation, one of the biggest problems with hives in the winter is too much moisture. Definitely a problem in a humid summer. You might want to set the hives up on something that allows airflow through that bottom board. Keeps the hive cooler in the summer too if they can create more airflow, less bearding. Second is that I would recommend anyone starting bee keeping to join a local club. That way when the bees behave oddly, swarm or you suspect a disease or pest issue, you'd have someone to call and ask questions to. Great instructable though. </p>
<p>Local bee keeping groups are great. I really should have mentioned it.<br><br>As far as the bas I was thinking about getting some wireless network attached sensors to put in there. More for my education but I'd love to know the internal conditions of the hive.</p>
<p>EXCELLENT ! keep up the great work!</p>
<p>Regarding your comment on Queen running out of room ... I used to run a 'brood &amp; a half' system, a brood chanber with standard depth brood frames, and on top a honey super with honey frames, and then teh excluder on top of that.</p><p>It is still in their insticnt to swarm ... so need to allow for it or inspect often enough that you can remove queeen cells.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a computer engineer - but please don't judge me by that. I heat with wood, fix broken things and love camping with my ... More »
More by More Cowbell:Cheap Treated Clothesline - Our Solar Clothes Dryer! Campfire Funnel Cakes Waterproof Underground PVC Cache 
Add instructable to: