I'm no Eric Mangini but I still have a game plan for my backyard apiary. Like any game plan, this one is not written in stone but will change with any unforeseen circumstances. In general, here is what it looks like now:
- Natural Beekeeping Without Ecological Fundamentalism - Whenever and wherever possible I will practice principles of bee husbandry that will help sustain the community of life rather than my own profit or convenience. This will make things more labor intensive for me and the occasional helper but, as an academic with more flexible summers, I can afford to do this.
- Hive Location - As a backyard beekeeper living in town, I have chosen a location which is inconspicuous and safe for my neighbors and other passerbys, and convenient for my family's other activities. (see photos) Shubbery and, possibly, screening will be used to divert the bees' "flight path" above pedestrian traffic.
- Hive Selection- I was fortunate to have read Flottum's book on backyard beekeeping because I hadn't really considered the full weight of different types of hives. Last October, I had major surgery and now am restricted from lifting awkward and overly heavy objects. Flottum has suggested that hobby beekeepers consider using 8 frame medium hives rather than 10 frame deeps in order to make lifting easier. So, with this in mind, I plan to order an 8 frame beginner's starter kit from Betterbee.
- The Bees-I have decided to buy my bees from B & B Honey Farm of Houston, Minnesota. They are located about an hour away from my home. The plan is to purchase and pick-up a nuc of Minnesota Hygenic bees.
That's the game plan for now. I'll inform you if there are any changes or additions. In the meantime, I will continue my obsessive research.