So I think it is more or less known at this point that we’re moving from our home. Regardless of what happens on other fronts to dictate the where of that more, we are indeed going.
As Courtney and I have debated what to do and how to accomplish the move, Courtney’s mind always goes to schools and doctors and grocery stores and library access and all those things. Mine? It is fixed firmly and fully on moving three stacks of boxes.
I’ve debated whether it’s even worth moving them, and I guess that depends on distance. If we end up in Idaho, I just don’t feel justified in the energy and effort it would take to move the bees. I’d be required to get an inspection for one thing, and I can’t imagine spending a day loading a trailer and then ending that with packing those up as well to follow that with a long drive and immediately unpacking them without an apiary set up. I just… don’t like the thought.
I’ve had some people suggest I leave them behind on a willing property and then grab them during the winter when the move would be quite easy, but I worry about taking them from a place where the temperature doesn’t really get below about 15 degrees to a place where -20 or lower is not only expected but it’s relatively common. I just don’t see them surviving that shift, especially since it’d be immediate.
And then add in the cost of a trailer… Our vehicle does not have a hitch currently, and that plus the rental for a trailer will cross $300 to $400 easily.
A local move on the other hand… I’ll borrow a truck and do it in an afternoon. Easy.
So what to do? I admit I’m leaning strongly towards selling them off and starting fresh in the spring.
I was speaking to one of my beekeeping buds, Lee, and he has two weak hives that his brother is thinking about buying from him. His brother lives in Arizona, and the thought is that if he takes them down there, they won’t need to battle through a winter and will probably survive. But that leaves Lee short a couple hives. He’s committed to taking at least two of the hives, leaving me with one (plus the top bar).
I have another friend who has been learning about beekeeping from me, and I’m thinking of giving him the top bar outright. The colony in there isn’t going to live all that long in its current state, so it’s really just the equipment, and I’m okay being done with the top bar.
So the last hive…. Lee might take it if his brother runs off with three hives instead of just two, but that’s a big if. I might see if I can find a buyer for the last hive as well. Or… Maybe moving one isn’t so bad?
Either way, the money we get from this will go straight to funding replacements wherever we end up. I’m anxious to start off on the right foot this time with the four years experience. Starting over fresh, this is what I will do different:
- All medium boxes instead of a mix of deeps and mediums. I like the interchangeability. In some ways it makes it easier to rotate the wax as well because any box can go anywhere. My only big complaint is that they don’t make medium nucs, so my nuc boxes are a bit weird.
- Plastic foundation on wood. I’ve done both full plastic and plastic/wood combos. I like the wood. I’ve found the bees build less vertical bridge comb between wood frames than they do with plastic. For whatever reason, they take to the lighter colored foundation faster than the black as well.
- Add drone brood frames. I’ve never done that, and I’ve found the bees eventually force drone brood onto the smaller cell frames. It’s pretty messy. As I see it, a hive that lays drones is a healthy hive (obvious exclusions). It’s part of the reproductive process, right? Drones are not bad, they just don’t produce honey. I’d rather help them put drones in a good place than what I typically see. I also like the idea of freezing frames for varroa control.
- Never medicate or feed. I’ve seen a lot of success with that, but all my equipment has been medicated at some point. I’d like to start pure and clean.
I’ve also debated 8-frame vs 10-frame. I’m strong enough to handle tens, especially mediums, so I probably won’t. I’ve also debated going to slatted bottom boards and mid-hive entrance shims. I just don’t know. I’ve heard it helps in honey production, but I don’t know that I care. It’s not about the honey. I may do the slatted bottom boards because there is evidence that it helps the brood nest stay lower in the hive in cold climates. I guess we’ll see.
One other thing I will definitely do, though, is keep the memory firmly in my mind that I almost killed this hobby twice! Once buy letting the monetization of it take precedence and again by letting the social aspect become the most enjoyed aspect. This is a hobby for me. This is a hobby where I see my girls, I grow with them, and I experience life with them. It’s not about honey or money, friends or family.
It’s about me.
That may be selfish, but I’ve learned that I love it most to just be out there on a nice Saturday morning with them. Just me. I like having help, but I prefer it alone. That’s when it is relaxing and comfortable and interesting and exciting and fun. That’s when I come away from the experience filled with life and energy.