Prepping for Next Year

I told Courtney recently that she lost the battle before it was even fought: I’ve decided to go up to five hives instead of four. 🙂

Of most interest to me, is that I’m seriously debating giving a Top Bar Hive a whirl. If you’re unfamiliar with them, here’s a good link.

So here’s the plan:

  • Split Hive 1 and let them create their own queen. I’m very fond of the queen in Hive 1. She has really strong hygienics, which I’m sure is what spared Hive 1 from the mite infestation that was a primary contributor to the collapse of Hive 2.
  • Get three packages to populate two new Langstroths (Hive 3 and Hive 4) and a single Top Bar. I’m not totally sold on the Top Bar simply because they are more expensive, but I do want to try it out. I like collecting at least some wax, and Top Bars allow me to do that.

That will bring us up to a total of five hives. I plan on using the salvaged honey and wax from the now dead Hive 2 to ramp up production in hives 3 and 4. The new Hive 2 will already get a bonus from the split I’m doing. In the end, I’ll have four hives that will each have at least ten frames of drawn comb, which will help them get going in the spring.

I’ve also managed to recruit a friend this year to help me. We’re going to go in on a loose partnership where we trade labor for honey. I’ve found that I enjoy doing the bees most when I have someone helping me. Someone to share the experience with.

Also starting next year, I hope to start selling some honey. If I can get some moderate production out of the hives, I should have a nice surplus to sell. We have a local bakery, and I have to wonder if they’d allow me to set up a display in their store. Considering that it is local, raw honey and how big an attraction that would be, I’m hopeful.

Oh, and I’m finally going to take a beekeeping class. 🙂 It’s time.

So here’s my list of questions for my fellow beekeepers!

  • Any advice on a top bar? I’m relying on YouTube right now because I literally don’t know a soul who does Top Bar hives.
  • Any advice on selling honey? I’m mostly thinking prices and marketing ideas. I don’t want a huge marketing campaign, of course. Mostly I’m looking for key words that pull people in, like Raw and Local.

Ah… Aleisha… What hath you wrought upon me!!! I’ll answer for you: Only the happiest and most enjoyable hobby I’ve ever had.

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5 Responses to Prepping for Next Year

  1. Emily Heath says:

    I have been given the marketing advice that honey labels sell best by having a country cottage themed label, something rural and old fashioned looking. Illustrations of cottages, bees and flowers sell better than slick and minimalist.

    Make sure you conform to any labelling laws in your state. In the UK we have all sorts of labelling laws, but maybe Alaska is less strict. Offering different size jars can be a good idea so that you can offer a variety of prices to suit all budgets.

  2. daveloveless says:

    Thanks, Emily.

    Good ideas all. I’m not sure what the rules and regulations are around here for selling beyond the need for a Food Handler’s Permit. That’s easy enough. I’ll have to do my research it looks like.

  3. Sarah L. says:

    We have farmers markets that sell honey – different flavors and stuff. Mmmmmmm …… I’m excited for you!

  4. smile, thanks for the shout out.

    there are all sorts of rules to selling/marketing/labeling honey…i know of two classes i would recommend you take. there are all sorts of people who build, sell and use top bar hives in our association so i still don’t know why you won’t/haven’t joined up…it costs a whopping $12 a year…..:)

  5. daveloveless says:

    I thought I told you…. I signed up back in July. I just never go…. 😦

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