Our Beginning with Bees

Pollen covered Bee
This amazing photo courtesy of PDPhoto.org
After a year of humming and hawing about getting bees I’ve finally decided to take the plunge!  Last spring I went through a WSU extension certification course on bee keeping and wasn’t sure that I wanted to take on a new hobby at the time.  I passed the exam and received a nice certificate (and cute bee patch might I add) but still didn’t feel very confident… I think I was too worried I’d hurt them or they’d hurt me.  After doing some more research and talking to more beekeepers I realized I needed to get experience and one way to do that was to just get started.   So, we went out to the local aviary supplier and got some good information and a brand new hive!  We need to paint the exterior of the boxes (pics to come), then get the foundation/frames and our Italian bees (+ a marked Queen)!  In the meantime I will be reading up on the little critters and getting our site ready.
A few things I’ve learned:
-Don’t wear fragrance or use fragrant soaps around bees – they love it, especially flower scents!
-My localized reaction (painful swelling) from stings could have been due to my Ibuprofen use from playing roller derby.
-Due to contamination issues in beeswax (from chemicals, grrrrr…) we will be using wood frames with plastic foundation for the bees to draw their combs on.  If you use too much plastic they will use their propolis and expressively glue everything together… which could be good for candle makers.
-I need to join my beekeepers association.. but apparently all beekeepers have different opinions and the only way they will agree on something is when they find that another beekeeper is wrong!
Links I’ve found that I will probably be referring to:
Beekeeper Resources WSU
Beekeepers Calendar – NWDBA
What’s Blooming (plant list) – NWDBA
Beekeeping tips for beginners, -MU Extension
If you keep bees, please feel free to suggest more links that are helpful to you!