Monday, April 6, 2009

Busy as a Bee

Dave -

Chickens...chickens...chickens...that's all you read about. But wait, let's turn our attention to honeybees for a moment. We will be picking up two three-pound packages of bees in about two weeks. Before we bring these bees home, we will need two beehives.

First, a little history. Last year our honeybees absconded less than three weeks after we got them, fleeing from ants that were running amok in the hive. Shirley and I fought the ants as soon as we noticed them using various methods but each method proved ineffective.
Beekeeping lore holds that the most effective way to control ants is to surround the hive with a moat of boiling oil. Okay, I added the "boiling" part for effect, but ants apparently are repelled by used motor oil.

Being a projects-type guy I jumped right on this project, grabbed a hack saw and started cutting an old bed frame into pieces. My plan was to make two hive stands that would stand in cans of motor oil. I made excellent progress for about 60 seconds, then the saw seemed to just ride over the steel as opposed to cutting into it. I replaced the blade with a new one and my progress improved dramatically . . . for about 60 seconds. Apparently, either manufacturers are making bed frames out of high carbon steel or someone has figured out a way to make even the lowly hack saw blade cheaply, capable of cutting only the softest metals. Rich Grove came to the rescue with a grinder in one hand and his MIG welder in the other. What a guy! In the time it took me to gulp three cups of coffee, I watched him transform the bed frame into two hive stands.

Meanwhile, back on the homestead, Shirley was busy priming and painting the beehives. As soon as the paint dries, we will assemble the hives on the new stands, create the oily moat, and wait for the arrival of our 24,000 Italian honeybees.

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