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Author Topic: Finally a Beekeeper!  (Read 831 times)
StevenSlaughter
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« on: April 28, 2009, 12:18:46 AM »

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!

Steven
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Steven Slaughter
Elementary Teacher
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago, IL
mrslaughter@inbox.com
Scadsobees
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 09:46:38 AM »

I can only imagine what would have happened had one of the ropes slipped shocked a whole beehive exploding on impact from 15 feet above the ground....

Congratulations!  Sounds like fun!
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Rick
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 10:03:26 AM »

Congratualtions on the bees. I felt so bad about him having to give up his bees and his hives are so beautiful but at least they will be taken care of.
How is it you are able to keep them on your church roof?
That reminds me of the time we had a swarm of bees land on the front doors of our church, spread right across where the double doors meet in the middle.
This was before I got into beekeeping, but the bees stayed there for 2 days while we used an alternative entrance.
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mtbe
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2009, 11:13:39 AM »

That's awesome Steven.  I'm glad you were able to help Woltjek, and it worked for both of you.

I hope he has luck with the other hives as well.  I would hate for him to destroy them.  I might be able to put them near me temporarily, until he sells them, but we're about 80 miles away.

I look forward to seeing yours this summer.  Will you have access to the church during the week?
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Davepeg
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2009, 12:06:35 PM »

Steven,
I always feel so bad when someone is forced to give up the girls.  I'm happy that in this case you were there to help.  So now the bees are blessed being on the roof, and the church is blessed with having the bees.
do you have any concern with the heat on the rooftop?  I know in NYC there is a group of rooftop beeks.

I was pretty nervous about having the bees in the yard when we first got them.  Let my husband do all the work (and fun stuff) while I watched from about 10 ft away.  It didn't take me long before I was right in there with him so I could see.  Last year I got a TBH of my own.  Your wife may still get the bee bug.

Peg
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We love the girls...
StevenSlaughter
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2009, 10:19:14 PM »

Yes, I am really thrilled to have finally taken the plunge. You can do lots of reading, take intro classes, read endless message boards, but eventually you're as ready as you'll ever be. Time for first-hand experience.

My church is fine with it for a couple of reasons. The most practical is that -- due to the inaccessibility of the rooftop (I have to climb up a stepladder to some clearstory windows, crawl out, and then go up a spiral staircase), there is really no way for anyone to get up there to get stung. So that was the primary question and concern. Beyond that, I am leading our environmental initiatives, and so I explained the importance of bees and how this would be yet more more way we could be "green." It also might make a good element for education.

Peg, it is funny you call the bees "the girls." We have a few chickens in our little 25x35' city backyard and my family refers to them as "the ladies" or "the girls." Now I have two sets of girls.

Steven
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Steven Slaughter
Elementary Teacher
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago, IL
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2009, 08:24:54 AM »

Steven Congratualtions on becoming a  beekeeper!
I am going to get my bee in May

Johnny
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 09:26:34 PM »

what kind of pinhead outlaws honey bees? oh wait, politicians....
good luck with them, maybe the law will be overturned and you can make some top bar nucs for him.
I could get really annoyed about a silly law like that.
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be happy and make others happy.
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