We are busy expanding our honey bee operation from two hives to twelve this year. We have purchased 2 separate kinds of bees – Russian and Italian. Our Russian bees are going up on a piece of land where they will help pollinate melon fields which we are pretty excited about! I am eager to find out what their honey will taste like. Our Italians will be going out on the same piece of land our other 2 hives are currently on.
Our Russian bees are being shipped to us, and we were lucky enough to find a local supplier for our Italian bees this year. It makes it a much shorter trip when we only have to drive 30 minutes instead of 5 hours to get our bees! They are set to arrive in the first 2 weeks of May.
So that means we have been busy ordering supplies from Mann Lake Limited in preparation for our bees arrival. It hasn’t been uncommon to come home to shipments like this sitting at my garage every week.
We decided to purchase unpainted hive bodies this year – you will soon find out why – so they are sitting waiting to be painted. Although we might have to paint and then stencil/repaint designs depending on when our next idea launches and we can get things in the works.
Hopefully we will be all set for our new bees to arrive. We have our pollen patties and feeders ready to go. We still have to purchase our sugar. I’m fairly positive the checkers at the grocery store always look at me like I’m crazy when I have a shopping cart with about 50 lbs of sugar and that is it! Our suits are hanging up and ready. We are excited to expand and bring local honey to the area. Our first round of honey should be here in late August for purchase!
We’ve also been busy trying our hand at our first batch of honey mead!
Honey mead takes a long time to ferment – 6 months at least! So we won’t have any ready until around late August or September for us to try. I’m just hoping it tastes good. ;)
It was an interesting process siphoning it, mixing in the yeast, watching the fermentation process, etc. We actually purchased all of our mead making supplies from a local craft brewing supply store in Faribault called Know-How Brews & Foods. They have very friendly and knowledgeable staff. If you are interested in trying some craft brewing of your own, they have simple beer and wine kits you can purchase! Some which have been developed locally in Faribault and Northfield! They are located right in downtown Faribault, so I encourage you to stop in and check them out.
Needless to say, we will have a busy spring with planting, honey bees and a new baby in the mix!