Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Honeybees at the Making Shift Homestead

I am now married to a beekeeper.

That's right- Mr. Chanclas is the proud owner of a couple thousand honeybees! I'm thrilled to have this newest addition to our homestead. This project belongs to Mr. Chanclas so I am just a casual observer to the process. I haven't read any beekeeping books or obsessed over beekeeping websites and YouTube videos. I've just quietly and happily watched as Mr. Chanclas built his own top bar beehive out of scrap lumber and then installed his first colony.

Mr. Chanclas working on his top bar hive. Little Sister made her own project nearby.

Cutting strips of wood to create the top bars.

The main trough portion of the hive

The top bar hive with top bars in place

Air holes with screen covering in the bottom of the hive
Then, a little over a week ago, he came home from BeeWeaver with his first colony of bees. He shook them out of the travel box into his top bar hive, gave them a jar of sugar water to get them started, and then walked away. In ten days they have made a substantial amount of comb on at least 6 of the 31 bars! I'm already dreaming of the honey. I don't cook or bake with regular sugar anymore so I use a fair amount of honey and maple syrup.

A piece of "starter comb" added to show the bees where to get started
The box of bees purchased from BeeWeaver

It was a LOT of bees!
Putting the new bees into their new hive

Showing the kids the little box containing the queen bee. Several other bees are clinging to the wire because they can smell her inside. They have to eat through a candy plug in the box to release her. This happens of the course of a couple of days, giving the colony a chance to get used to her smell (pheromones, actually).

We have modest goals for this first hive. Mainly, that they don't decide to leave. And hopefully, that we get a little bit of honey for eating and a little bit of beeswax for candle making. I will report back with updates!


  1. OMG!! I am so excited for you guys!! WOOT!

  2. Bees!! That's so exciting. And that's a beautiful beehive your man made. Well done!

  3. This is so cool - I will live vicariously through you since I still harbor a terrible phobia of bees that originated from nowhere.

    So exciting!! And look how hot yer man is wranglin' them bees. (And how super cute that little sweetie pie is clad only in her underbritches helping daddy out - LOVE.)


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