Alarmed by the rapid decline of bees, we decided to establish our own backyard hive. Beekeepers have the option of purchasing and importing bees from outside the region; however, we wanted to promote the local bee population because they were known to be more hardy and resistant to disease.
This was a bit of learning curve. But after doing some reading, watching YouTube videos, and consulting with fellow local beekeepers, we felt ready to try it.
First, we used a nuc box (pronounced like "nuke," as in nucleus), which we placed on top of a roof to attract the bees. We put lemongrass drops on a q-tip, rubbed the q-tip around the entrance of the nuc box, and then placed the q-tip in the middle of the box. Essentially, the oil mimics a pheromone that encourages bees to swarm into a location as their new home. This process took about three weeks.
Once the bees took residence in the nuc box for a few weeks, drawing comb and filling it with honey, we transferred the frames from the nuc box into their "official" hive (pictured below).
This is where Claire's journey began. We let Claire and her sisters build up the hive for over a year--adding another "box" in the process--before attempting our first honey harvest. That first year, we harvested 12 pounds of honey in exchange for only one bee sting. But most importantly, we learned that these animals are the bees knees.
We learned a LOT during that first year, and as Claire's hive continued to grow and need more boxes, we found ways to make sure they were healthy and protected from pests.
That's all for now, but stay tuned for more updates on Claire's hive!