I know the odds are not for me, but I’m trying anyway. I’ve got my top bar hive set up in a good location—out by the coop. It will get early morning sun and a bit of late afternoon shade.
The hive has 2 coats of tung oil on it to help it with water resistance and it’s nice and level so the bees can build their combs straight.
I’ve added another level of blocks under the hive after hearing someone lost their bees to their hens. Apparently, the chickens plucked them out of the air one bee at a time because the bee entrance was beak level. Eeeks. I definitely want to avoid that.
I’ve pounded in metal fence posts around the hive on three sides—not super tight, but close by, to help keep the hive stable and intact in the whipping winter wind.
I made a ‘bee watering hole’ out of a 5 gallon white bucket and threw in some twigs that will float on the top of the water (so the bees won’t drown). I drilled ¼ inch holes about an inch below the rim, all the way around. These holes won’t allow the bucket to overflow, but instead will drain the excess water (and therefore keep the twigs inside the bucket).
I took a “how to catch a bee swarm” class and got my name on the swarm list. And it is here that I sit. Waiting. Waiting for some feral bees to call my own.
I even purchased my fashionable bee hat.
In the waiting, I decided to bait my hive with a bit of lemongrass essential oil in hopes of wooing a swarm of bees to me. The lemongrass oil mimics the smell of a queen bee and (hopefully) says to the scout bees out looking for a new home, “Pick me! Pick me!”
Of course, since I bait the hive, it’s done nothing but rain and I know bees don’t like to look for new homes in nasty weather. So, now I wait for the sun to shine like I wait for the bees to come.
I wonder just how much I can push my luck this spring. I’m willing to push it hard, and am hoping for a buzzing, furry mass of honeybees to call my own in the near future…still waiting, even against the odds, and still hopeful.