A few years ago after finding a dead swarm in my basement, I decided to turn a longstanding interest in bees into something more concrete by building a top bar hive which I called the beehouse and, as with a bird house, I set it out in a likely location and waited for bees to arrive. While I have not yet had any success with that approach, I continue to leave it out in the meadow at Rurikia just in case a passing swarm should be looking for a new home.
At the beginning of 2016 a new Tractor Supply Company store opened near the California house, and having been in Rural King withdrawal since relocating west for work I couldn’t resist stopping by for a meander to see what they had which I might not be able to live without. And there and then it happened. I turned the corner from a selection of bits and bridles I had no need or use for and found myself looking at a selection of beekeeping equipment and supplies from the “Harvest Lane Honey” company. Having never before seen beekeeping supplies sitting on the shelves at a retail outlet, I gave each item a good looking over while in the back of my head I was trying to decide a) if I should take the appearance of the items at a store as a sign it was time to go for a hive here and b) if there was enough room in the car for the “complete hive starter kit”. In the end I decided that not only was the appearance a good sign, but the very name “Harvest Lane” was as well, as my parents happen to live on a street called Harvest Lane. I couldn’t quite decide on the size of the box though.
The kit contained all the hardware needed to house a starting colony of bees: a 10 frame deep hive body with frames, cover board, telescoping top, bottom board, and feeder, as well as a couple of key tools . As I was looking at it, I also noticed that all components were sold individually, and as I started adding up the individual costs relative to the kit cost I found it didn’t make much of a difference if I bought them together or separate. Buying separate also gave the advantage of being able to get a screened bottom instead of a solid one, and it fit in the car without question.
Once home I opened the boxes and was pleasantly surprised by the effective packaging – since most everything is already a box of some nature the packaging was basically a cardboard wrapper with no wasted space or material. As the hive body was already assembled and stocked with assembled frames, the only thing I had left to do was to paint the bottom board and find a suitable location to place the hive.
With a hive in place I needed to decide if I was going to buy bees or wait for providence to deliver them. I opted to go the more predictable route of purchasing, and luckily had timed my interest in buying bees when a semi-local pickup option was still available to order.