Thursday, 10 October 2013
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  164 Visits

I recently joined the VBA and am looking to begin keeping honey bees in 2014! Admittedly my initial interest was selfish - i.e.: the honey! - but the more i've read the more my interest is about helping the bees and should they grace me with any surplus honey… well, I won't argue!

I've purchased several of VBA's recommended books, along with a few others. Beekeeping for Dummies is the one I'm processing best right now. I have no scientific aptitude and prior to July, sadly knew little about honey bees. I'm taking Yestermorrow's Beehive Design/Build course next month and as a visual learner it should be tremendously helpful. It certainly doesn't hurt that at the end of the 2-day course you leave with a finished beehive ("a brood hive, 1 medium hive body (2 if time permits), the base, and inner and outer covers")

My first question is WHERE on my property (.66 acres) would be best for 3 hives. My primary objective is twofold - what's best for the bees AND what's most courteous to my immediate neighbors. I think I may have determined that but would definitely welcome advice from VBA members!

I've attached a photo (hive-placement-2-neighbors.jpg) from Google Maps which appears to be from roughly 4 years ago. The 40yo pine trees aren't that thick anymore. I'd guess maybe they're about 50% less thick… I've also marked the enclosure for my dogs. The red squares represent where I'm thinking of putting the hives. Yellow circles represent 2 'lone' pine trees.

I've read hives should be in dappled sunlight and not direct sun bc in the hot summer months direct sun all day will force the bees to do extra work regulating the hive temperature. Ideally I'd rather not to cut the 2 'random' trees down (yellow circles) but if it needs to be done I'm guessing it'll be better to do this Fall than trying to do it next spring before the hives go in or god forbid after they go in!

My property (in Barre Town) is in a high wind zone (mostly only an issue in the winter) so while the current 'landscaping' (dappled sun) might be workable for summer months will this pose a problem for the brutal months of January-February?

I've also attached a short video ( I took in mid August to better show the amount of sun in the area. When taking this video, I was standing close to the yellow circles (trees) in the attached photo.

Other than placement on my property, my second question is WHEN to purchase bees for 2014. If they're "ordered" in the fall, what month would they typically arrive in Central Vermont?

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and offer any advice.

I look forward to learning from everyone!

8 years ago
Hello Holly,

It's good to hear you are thinking about the bees.

We are currently finishing the fall beginning beekeeping course at Champlain Valley High School in Hinesburg. There is a winter class that starts in January.
Here is the link.

This book, is excellent fo the beginner. Also, Ross Conrad's book, Natural Beekeeping will give you a Vermont Perspective.

Two beekeeping magazines are The American Bee Journal and Bee Culture. Both will probably send you a free initial copy.

Beginning in April of 2014 the VBA will hold hands on workshops at the Intervale location in Burlington.

In terms of wind I would not suggest cutting any trees. A simple wind break made from hay bales would suffice.

Typically, hives are set to face south/south east so that the early morning sun hits the front first.

There are two typical ways to purchase bees. One is called a package and the other a nucleus colony ,"nuc". Package bees can be bought from Betterbee but there are some local package providers. Nucs are also local. You can go to the marketplace section on the VBA website to find the local nuc suppliers. From there you can get an idea when to order. Delivery for bees varies on weather conditions and can range from the end of April to the middle of June.

I hope this helps,

8 years ago
Looks like the video didn't come through. Trying again.

UPDATE: Nope. Won't take. Are videos allowed?
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