Last weekend I had the opportunity to add another name to the list of interesting people I have met since becoming a beekeeper. His name is Gordon and just like most beeks he is ate up with love for bees. He appears to be about 65, but he told me he was 78 and “can’t handle two deep hive bodies full of bees, brood, and honey by himself anymore”.
I met with Gordon for about 5 hours total on two separate occasions. He started beekeeping in 1987 with a hive was housed in a bee gum. A neighbor of his had a tree containing a hive that they had cut down. Gordon brought the section of tree to his place and set it up in his yard. The rest is history. He runs about 40 or so Langstroth hives now.
Gordon bought a bunch of equipment several years ago form an operation that went out of business. He has hundreds of old deep and medium boxes nicely stacked in his barn. The stuff is old and needs a little work and paint, but other than that is in great shape. I found out about this man from a coworker who also keeps bees. She bought a couple deeps from him earlier this spring. One day I told her I was running out of equipment and she gave me his number.
I hauled 20 deeps with frames and 10 bottom boards home. The bottom boards appear to be home made. They are constructed so they have a sort of integrated mouse guard. The opening across the bottom of the board is ~5/16 of an inch. After I observe how the bees like them I am considering modifying the rest of my boards in a similar fashion to eliminate the need for mouse guards.
I have been concerned with the boxes harboring various diseases. I’m considering lightly toasting the inside surfaces of the boxes with flame, but I know even then there will be some risk. If anyone has any recommendations I am willing to take them.
I don’t know why older beeks seem to appear much younger than their actual age. Is it a valid observation or do I not know enough older beekeepers? I have spoken with others who have commented on the same observation. With any luck there IS a correlation because there are a lot things I would like to learn about beekeeping and the years pass too quickly. Here’s to a long life of beekeeping.
What do you think?
That is an interesting idea for the bottom boards. How do you think it will affect hive ventilation?
Gordon sounds fascinating. There is so much to learn from older beekeepers. I love talking to them. Most of the ones I know do look younger than their age. I think the activity of beekeeping keeps them fit and healthy. Of course it could be all the stings too. 🙂
It may cause problems for ventilation, but I am going to pick up enough wood on monday to make 20 more of those top entrances. If I pair the two together I should be ok. They can get a current of air moving up through the hive. I will let you know.
One word of advice, don’t start talking to a veteran bee keeper if you need to be someplace in an hour. Time gets away quickly!
I’ll leave my boxes out in the sun and wind, and then I’ll flame it with my torch that I use for my creme brulees! 🙂
I’m not surprised that your beek friend looks young for his age. This very topic was covered in the book Bees Don’t Get Arthritis.
I think frames and comb would spread more diseases then box’s, I’m sure toasting the inside with a large torch would be enough.
I will let you know. 🙂