|just a few jars. I pulled almost 20 lbs/honey from the one hive. and left three full frames in for them.|
Someone asked me the other day it didn't seem that long for me to have gotten so much honey. Got me thinking on when I first started.
August 2013 Went to the S. Florida Bee College and spent 3 days learning about bees. As well as the Small Farms Conference where I had taken a class that started the interest. (The thought to keep bees had been swimming around for years).
September 7 2013 Went to hear Michael Bush speak and he sealed it for me. I can do this. I wasn't so sure leaving the Bee College courses. I just liked what he had to say. I go to his site for most questions.
October 5 2013 Kayla brought me a swarm she had found. I still have that lovely docile hive. She started it. I would likely still be waffling if she hadn't shown up with a hive for me.
November 9 2013 Picked up a nuc from a beekeeper in Delray. All beeks say must have more then one to compare and work and learn from. But the commercial keep wasn't arriving. So i was getting ancy.
November 11, 2013 2 boxes arrived from a commercial beekeeper.
And that is how it started.... 4 boxes. Almost 2 years. Not without some bumps in the learning curve. I have learned i have a knack for it. I don't mind rank bees. I like (no LOVE) seeing them in the yard every morning. I commune with them daily. I know their moods. I'm respectful and mostly leave them alone. I've been stung 4 times in 2 years. Thats not 4 episodes but literally just 4 stings. Each my fault. 3 times on the fingers trying to move frames around. Once on the lip. I think we 'bumped' into each other.
I've also lost some. Split some. Swarmed some. And learned even more from these experiences. One box just up and left (absconded) and literally left the boxes clean as a whistle. That was the split i messed that up royally. It happened while i was in the hospital for 10 days. PooF! So sad. Amazing though how the hive was cleaned.
I have put zero into the hive in terms of beetle, varroa etc. management. I do see beetles, periodically. I did have to change out the commercial keeps hive he gave me wax moth. And dealing with it.
I've one episode I'd rather not repeat, but it involved a queen less hive. And that prompted help from beeks from above. But that experience was invaluable.
Since I was down to 2 hives friends brought me a split this past December. While not totally back on my feet from surgery what a nice little christmas surprise.
My thoughts on the bees are with the goats, if you're in it for the long haul, what's the rush? I say this all the time to new potential goat owners. I'm not in any rush with the bees. Nor pulling honey out too soon. One wasn't established. One was weak from moths. One was doing so great had to split and so on... Each time, maybe pulling a frame or two just to play.
Last week really was my first ever pull. So, really it was a long time coming. And Then it got rainy, cold front moved in, with 70 MPH type winds and i'm itching to go back out and see what the other two hives are doing.
I also know that I still know absolutely nothing about bees. I read and read, and the more I experience realize this is truly a life long pursuit. I can learn about how to trim a hoof, read lots on it. Trim hooves and then feel mastery in a very short time. Bees are not like that. And as slow as I go? Isn't there a saying ... ' the more i learn, the less i know'.... feels that way with bees.