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Next Steps in Becoming Beekeepers

We're making progress toward becoming first-time beekeepers. Our amazing dad Richard (my father-in-law) gave us the start we needed by building two well-constructed Langstroth beehives, which we picked up a couple weeks ago.  Since then, we finished painting both hives and are ready to get them set up.  Below is the second hive exterior drying in the sun with it's final coat of paint applied.

how to paint a beehive

The sturdy hives will soon have thousands of bees buzzing in them.  We are so grateful to our dad for building the two hives for us.

We learned that only the exterior of the hives should be painted in order to protect the wood from the elements.  A low VOC exterior paint (VOC of 50 or lower) is recommended for painting a hive, which I was finally able to find at the Sherwin-Williams in Sequim.  We painted the hives white and we're thinking about painting a few flowers as decoration on the exterior as well.

Our beekeeping supplies recently arrived from Mann Lake.  We tried on the hooded jackets and they fit perfectly!

hooded jackets for beekeepers

In addition to the hooded jackets, we purchased a bellow smoker, feeders for inside each hive, hive tools, bee brush, pellet smoker fuel and mouse guards.  We still need to order a supply of mite treatment.  

Last weekend, we used the tractor auger to bore four holes in the ground where we plan to place our beehives.  The holes are for fence posts.  We're going to put up a windbreak type of fence along the north and west sides of the hives, as that is where our strongest windstorms tend to blow from.  Other tasks that we need to do in preparation for the bees include building a platform that the hives will rest upon and putting together a water source for the bees next to the hives.  We will probably also secure the hives down with straps.  

The hives will be placed next to the garden where it is fully fenced. Right now we have 8-foot tall plastic mesh fencing around the garden, but we are discussing replacing the plastic mesh with wire fencing of some sort.

We also completed a beginners beekeeping course through the SnoKing Beekeepers Association and passed the test to become certified with the Washington State Beekeepers Association.  After a year of beekeeping, we'll be able to take the intermediate course so that we can continue to grow in our knowledge and experience as beekeepers.

Our bees arrive on April 24.  We ordered the bees through a local nursery store, Sunny Farms. There are 20,000 Italian honeybees coming, including two queens.

early honeybee
As you can imagine, we are very excited about adding bees to our little farm.  They will help pollinate our garden, fruit trees and the 100 blueberry plants that we planted here last year.  Nearby, there are immense areas of wild blackberry and roses for the bees to forage, as well as many native flowering bushes and trees along Morse Creek trail.  As for the honey, likely we'll overwinter the hives before pulling out any, based on the recommendations of our local beekeepers associations.