Hi from Idaho
I have just started beekeeping this year. I built a Kenya top bar style from a design I found online but had a late start on the whole idea. I was planning on ordering bees for next spring and I crashed a bee club meeting that was on a field trip out this way. Then I happened to learn how to catch a swarm from a beek who keeps his hives by my neighbor's fields. I walk my dogs there and had called him for a swarm near his hives. The next time they swarmed they were up in a tree hanging over the pond and if I caught them they were all mine! So...I caught em in a fumbling fashion involving climbing the tree with pruners and rope, then trying to drop them mostly into a cooler (also up in the tree), hurried up to finish my hive and put them in the next morning. They stayed, and I waited a while and checked for the queen. I clawed around and made some of the comb fall. Also spotted lots of eggs, brood and finally saw her majesty the queen. All went well until last week when I was gone camping and a huge T-storm blew through taking the power out to 50,000 some for up to 4 days, knocking over trees, my motorcycle .. and threw poor bees upside down and all the comb down off the bars. A brave man I love a lot went out and scooped them into the hive and put the lid back on. I got back and tried to tie up the comb (which I know a better way for next time now thanks to this site). I have been feeding them some syrup just to make things easier and they keep draining it and building new comb, attaching back ok. Then some ants visited and I had to move the hive, cinnamon kept blowing away. Now tonight I saw runt bees with deformed wings which means varroa mites right so I dusted them with powdered sugar and hopefully they all fall off through the screen. I don't know of any stores around here where I can buy the medicine. The catalog stuff all costs more for shipping than the medicine! I redid the hive and better braces so it can't blow over like that and tied to the blocks which prob should have done earlier. I don't like my top bars because they fall inward too easy, not long enough. The next one I will change the design or else try the Langstroth one. I probably want two hives anyway and fun trying different things. It's just you need more $$ equipment it looks like and I am lacking in that department. I made my own hat/veil and my suit is my snowboard jacket. I hope the bees survive me. They do seem to be a tolerant bunch. Anyway that's my story so far and lots to learn. I did tell my first bee joke....I told somebody the hardest thing about it was rounding up and branding them.