Saturday, April 16

Margaret and I installed our first package of bees in a newly assembled and painted hive on the cool April Saturday in Maine, with the help and video expertise of our friends Thom and Stacie. This project has been the culmination of more than a year of thinking and planning.

Margaret had been looking on the internet for beekeeping classes, we found one that was close, and I emailed the class teacher. It turns out to be a small business “Bees-n-ME”, taught and run by one of Maine’s Master Beekeepers, Rick Cooper and his wife, out of their home barn. Rick turns out to be a gruff, funny guy, with what I would describe as somewhat Libertarian outlooks on beekeeping. He’s an extremely candid businessman and beekeeping supplier for Maine, and he’ll supply you with anything you want, but that will come with his opinions on whether or not you need it. And it turns out there’s not really all that much that you need to keep bees.

Here’s what you need for the first year:

Two Deep Hive bodies (eight or ten frame – your choice).

Sixteen or Twenty Assembled Frames.

An Inner Cover, and an Outer Cover.
A Feeder Pail.
A bottom board.
A bee veil (although Rick doesn’t use one, but he says, “do as I say, not as I do”).
A smoker (never go to the hive without it lit and ready).
A hive tool.
A super (maybe if you have a good first year).
A package of Bees!

Rick’s basic beekeeping course went over instruction for the assembly of frames, and hive bodies, important things to do in the spring, during installation, summer, fall, and winterizing. He went over the full gamut of bee pests and pathogens. All in all, it was a very informative and fun class. I feel, I would be remise in not mentioning his business website here, so for people in the Northeast, or wanting to contact him, Rick’s website is: