many years ago, we had a friend keeping bees on our back property, but for a number of reasons, they didn’t make it through the winter, and the hive either swarmed or died out — without one of us steadily involved back there, it’s hard to say. the hive had been laying around in the field ever since, awaiting the day we decided to keep bees again.

that day has arrived. Terra is keeping bees at Sunflower River — using the old langstroth hive that was in the back acreage, with some new parts that Rev built, since the old ones had fallen apart a bit in their years sitting around in the weather.

A couple weeks ago, we drove down to Bosque Farms and picked up a very loud box containing three pounds of bees. We took it out to the field, and Terra installed the bees in the hive.

Note the remaining piece of the old hive on the left. We cleaned all of that up that day.

Bee installation. Did you know they just pour out of the box in giant clumps? It was pretty intense.

An instagram video of the bee installation can be found here.

Several bees got tangled in my hair, so I had to retreat from my photographic vantage point near the action.

Terra and our HelpX intern Michael placing the frames in the hive, post-bee-installation.

We’re supplying them with sugar water and a little bowl of drinking water while they get themselves settled and established. An experienced local beekeeper Terra talked to suggests that feeding sugar water all summer in their first year is wise, as the weather can be unpredictable and it’s very dry here, so we will do that. We definitely want to give them every opportunity to succeed. We’re interested in harvesting honey & wax in future years, but also in the preservation of honeybees as a species. We’ve been planting pollinator-friendly flowering plants for years; now we’ve got our own honeybees to go with!

here’s Terra’s bee blog, for a much more detailed ongoing update!