Well, I am officially a beekeeper, just a bit sooner than I expected. On Saturday, I went to visit the man who posted in this forum that his town (Norridge, IL) had a law banning bees, so he had to get ride of his beautiful TBHs. It is 4'x2' and stands around 4' tall. The bees in this hive got started much earlier than his other "bee families" he has. I arranged to pick it up on Sunday evening after dark.
I borrowed a friend's truck and carefully got them back to my church. (My wife did not want them in the yard.) This is where the real fun begins. I sited it on a rooftop with only a narrow window for access. No doors of any kind. I was expecting to build a smaller hive and/or construct it in such a way that I could move it out the window and assemble on the roof, and then add a package of bees. Instead, I am standing there in the alley with a large dresser-sized hive filled with live bees, staring at a 20' brick wall, wondering how on earth I am going to get it up.
As it turned out, I had (and needed) three helpers. Two were up on the roof holding ropes attached to the hive. Two of us on the ground positioned two 18' ladders right next to the hive. Then we grabbed the same ropes and began walking it up the ladder. It worked fine, up until the top, muscling it up and over the parapet wall was pretty dicey at the very top of a ladder. But we did it. Then we had to hoist the ladders up and do it again on a shorter, 12' wall. In the end, the hive made it successfully to its new home. I promptly took them out for a beer. This morning, I opened the entrance and out they came. This afternoon, I went back and they seem to be happily coming and going. I have no protective gear nor tools yet (just placed an order this evening), so I won't be engaging too much with the hive for a few days until my stuff arrives. Just stopping by to observe through the observation window.
The whole time moving the hive up those walls, I felt like I was in a Three Stooges episode, with hilarious (and painful) meyhem just waiting at every turn. It was one of those fun, utterly stupid things to do that you just keep going with because you want to accomplish the task so badly. So it is done. And now I begin the process of learning the real-life stuff that none of those books, articles, or web postings can really teach. I am really excited!