Great for beginners all the way to breeding queens. Thanks Albert Chubak
– Chris Nelson, Alta High School
My son first approached me a few years ago and said “Wouldn’t it be fun to keep bees?” We had a beehive 40 years ago when we lived in California. We never harvested honey, opened a hive, treated for mites, or did anything for that matter. They swarmed a couple of times, once on a small low-lying tree in our front yard, which my husband and a friend collected. And another time a swarm landed on our rose bush just before school let out, so I was the only one available to collect them. I cut a branch of the rose bush, shook them into a hamper and there they stayed, until years later when we transferred all of the hives to an avocado orchard. All we learned is that they were interesting to watch and didn’t bother you unless you messed with them. So the interest was born then but not cultivated.
So, my son somehow contacted someone in Saratoga Springs who was selling bees. We went out there and picked up two old, weathered boxes of bees. We took them home, watched them and in the fall my son gathered the frames of honey, took them to someone and had the honey spun out and bottled. Then winter came and the bees died. The next year was a repeat. Bought old weathered boxes of bees, collected the honey, bottled it, then the bees again died over the winter. Then in conversations at work one of my co-workers was telling me about his mini hive and how easy it was to manage. He showed me pictures of his beautifully carved mini hive. I had to have one! So, I was then smitten with the “Mini Urban Beehive” bug! Not only was the beehive a beautiful piece of art for my yard, but the frames were easy to manage. Starting out with only two small frames of bees, it was easy to inspect and find queen cells. I grew my own Queen! Through Albert’s instruction I learned how to find eggs, larvae, pollen, beebread, honey, queen cells, drone cells, nectar and capped honey. Starting with a small hive was like training wheels until I had confidence and knowledge to successfully manage and expand on my own.
When my sisters and best friend saw how interesting and non-threatening my mini hives were they had to have a piece of the action! Collectively they bid on a four box hive that Albert donated to an auction supporting Juvenile Diabetes. So each having one box they came and got two frames of bees from my hive. Three of the four grew their own Queen. The fourth had a Queen cell but the Queen never returned from her mating flight. So we got another frame from my hive that had fresh eggs and nurse bees and tried again. Success!!! That Queen is a beautiful pinkish color that is phenomenal at laying eggs. They all learned as I did how to recognize workers, drones, finding a Queen, feeding when necessary and harvesting honey. We all not only grew our own queen, made candy boards for winter feeding, adapted location for and/or covering the mini hive to protect from harsh winter, but we ALL survived the winter. After researching recipes and after harvesting the honey, we used the fresh pure wax to make our own lip balms, hand creams, and using our own pollinated flowers made calendula/comfrey/plantain salve. (Antiseptic for beestings and cuts).
As time has passed I have acquired a voracious appetite for reading anything and everything regarding bees. I have joined local beekeeping clubs, attended conferences and have joined multiple Facebook beekeeping groups. I love seeing the different regional challenges and benefit from their knowledge. In overwintering my bees I relish in the fact that I was able to problem solve with Albert’s help the best ways to prevent moisture build up within the hive and watching for warnings of swarming as Spring approaches. I also LOVE watching two hives side-by-side. They have their own personalities, likes, dislikes and temperament.
What would you tell someone if they said that they want a hive but don’t have a lot of time/money/bee knowledge? The Mini Urban Beehive is the only way to go. The bees are mellow, easy to inspect and manage. Harvesting honey requires no fancy equipment. The frames are small, lightweight and even my grandchildren are fascinated and able to manipulate the frames. With minimal investment you can watch your bees create and care for their own queen. Harvest as little as a single frame of honey at a time (about a pound) and taste the different flavors each harvest provides. Depending on where the bees forage and what is in bloom every single frame of honey can have its own unique flavor. That doesn’t happen with a larger traditional hive where all the honey is mixed together.
When purchasing your first hive, be ready to welcome a new addiction. Start with the Mini Urban Beehive and savor the education that comes with it. Embrace this innovative and unique way to raise bees. Enter this new endeavor with a questioning and inquisitive attitude. Don’t be discouraged with comments and bullying from the “Old time Beekeepers” who thinks there is only one way to raise bees. Don’t listen when they tell you that you can’t raise your own queen, that this hive is too small to last through winter and that it’s too small to harvest any honey. I’ve proved all this to be incorrect as well as my three sisters and my best friend!
Beekeeping has definitely taught me patience. You can’t raise a Queen immediately. Honey isn’t produced overnight and learning is a process. I think no matter how many years I keep bees there will always be more to learn. The joy in beekeeping is not necessarily in the end product but to enjoy the journey and always be open to share your knowledge and excitement with others seeking to learn.
– Marlene Jacobsen Schnabel, Taylorsville, Utah
Today I am going to wax the hive I just got from you. It is a piece of art.
– Vickie Hillis Conte, San Luis Obispo, California
A piece of artwork
– Vernon Burnie, Creemore, Ontario
I am starting to see this hive in my dreams.
– Cristy Hunt, Huntsville, Alabama