Catching Bee Fever
You might be wondering how the bee keeping adventure is going...GREAT!!!
I have now attended 3 of the 4 courses, taught by bee expert and mentor to most of the county, Serge Labesque. He is literally so revered and well-known here in Sonoma County that you don't even need to mention his last name. He has raised bees for years and has created modifications to standard bee boxes/hives that are now known as "Serge-Style".
Every night after class I call my brother, Pat, to tell him what I learned that night. (I saw Pat's hive in December and knew if he could do it, so could I!!!) We have discussed what size "super" to use (Serge recommends using the medium size because the weight of the larger boxes are too heavy to handle), whether or not to use queen excluders, a screened level that keeps the queen from being able to move up into the next level of the super. Serge DOES NOT believe in the excluders but most bee keepers think of them as standard equipment.
I am so revved up after class that I have to take something to help me sleep! The day after last weeks class I was burning up the wires by emailing my bee keeping girlfriends asking them things such as "nucs", nuclear bee families with unborn queens, where is the best place to buy supplies both locally and online, who treats their bees with powdered sugar (a no-no in Serge's book) and so on.
There is SO much to learn. The one point Serge keeps driving home: respect the bees and what they naturally do. Don't interfere. I like that philosophy and will do what I can to uphold it.
Supplies can be found at:
Western Farm Center
Dadant & Sons, Inc.
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
Glory Bee Natural Foods and Crafts
Thanks to Carolina Bees and bloglifetime.com for the photos.