The bees are coming!
The day the bees were to arrive felt so far away but before we knew it the time has almost come!
We are actually going to pick up our bees later today (eek!), so I thought I would give you a sneak peek at our little apiary set up. It is not completely finished but we will add more finishing touches throughout the summer.
Planning where we were going to keep our bees in the backyard, along with designing the area, has been my favourite part so far.
We scoured our 5 acres of property for the ideal location for our new bees. Our bee guru Mark gave us the best tips to ensure we have a prime location to house these ladies. The most important of these tips being: somewhere that gets good sun exposure in the winter, somewhere the sun hits early in the morning and somewhere that won't impose on any neighbours. We finally found the perfect spot hitting these three requirements and set to work.
After the location was decided upon, we broke ground!
We measured out the size we wanted and my dad set to work on the tractor to map out the area.
We knew what we wanted for our honey bee complex: a raised, level area with room for us to walk around and room to plant a variety of flowers. Behind this row, we are growing rows of oak and hazelnut trees on the property so the irrigation was already ready to go, perfect to use for our surrounding garden.
Next came the landscape ties. We wanted to use this to level out the slight slope, as well as create a designated bee area. A fence was up for discussion, but since we have some pesky wildlife on Vancouver Island (big and small) we decided for it and put 2ft tall fence posts around the perimeter. We are going to use thin mesh wire fencing, which we haven't installed quite yet.
We then divided the area in thirds - the middle to house the hives and the two outer thirds for our gardens. Landscaping fabric was put down to help slow the inevitable weeds that would come through. The middle we filled with bark mulch and the sides with top soil. Some cement blocks were put in place to lift our hives up off the mulch and we added stepping stones to the hives.
After that, all we had to add was the hives and some greenery.
Our hives we purchased from a local company (our bee guru Mark!) who hand crafts each one. Check out our blog post, What is a Bee Hive? for more information on our hives!
We then decided on lavender for now to line the side of our garden. We know there are many different flowers bees love but lavender is up there with the favourites so it was a must. We are holding off on the other flowers until we find the perfect ones!
And just like that their home is ready, and perfect timing since they are arriving today! I am so excited to share our journey with you and hope this post inspires you to create your own little apiary in your backyard!