I've been reading up on beekeeping on several different sites for about a year now. I'm actually making the move into beekeeping, so I figured it was time to say hello.
I got a late start this year in my prep than I hoped to due to the poor weather this winter. Anyhow, I built a couple of top bar hives, and a couple of bait hives.
I was a bit hesitant to jump in without actually handling some bees to see how I would do, and instead talked a neighbor of mine who keeps bees to see if I could come over when he was working his. Unfortunately, it took me a bit to figure out that he didn't want to bother with me and here I am at the end of May with no bees, and no readily available source.
I put the word out that I am looking for swarms, and I got a couple of leads. One is a feral hive that has been living in a tree for about five years now. The opening is all of an inch wide and will require a trap-out. I put a bait hive nearby, and will get back to it later as I'm hoping to catch a swarm off of it so I can have the genetics from this survivor colony.
The other is a swarm that moved into a wall/chimney. I went up and removed some of the bricks to get to the colony. There were a few combs of honey and a lot of bees. I cut out the combs and attached them to some top bars with hair clips and zip ties. The remaining bees were hanging out in the wall, so I reached in with my gloved hands and gently pulled out several handfuls of bees, and shook them off into the hive. Wow, what an experience. I'm hooked.
I left after I had removed most of the bees, and my reaching was yielding more squished bees than safely transferred bees. I was concerned that I didn't see any brood, and I had no way of picking the queen out of the many handfuls of workers that I pulled out.
After a couple of days, I went back to check on them and upon opening the hive up, I discovered only a couple of dozen bees finishing the job of cleaning the honey out of the comb that I hung in there. They had moved back into the wall. Apparently the colony was bigger than what I thought and they had more comb further back into the wall/chimney.
It didn't take too much more digging into the wall to discover that the house has a substantial termite problem. Furthermore, I won't be able to get at the colony without doing significant harm to an already unsteady wall. So my uber-cool, easy cutout has just turned into another trap-out. The homeowner is being pretty cool about everything, and said she won't treat the termites until I get the bees out.
So anyway, this is my baptism by fire into the world of beekeeping. Oh, and I need some brood. I've sent a couple pm's to some local members, and placed a few calls. Hopefully I'll be able to find someone willing to sell me some brood. If anyone is in the KC area and is willing to help out, please shoot me a pm.
I also make beer.