With the soil figured out and the lavender plants ordered, we had some time over the winter for a few other projects. First on the list was learning everything we could about honeybees. Our plan was to have the bees pollinate the lavender, which in turn would give the honey our bees made a lavender taste. Win-Win! According to numerous articles we read, bees LOVE lavender, so we were on the right track.
It is kind of funny, figuring out which breeds of bees to start with involved almost the same research as figuring out which types of lavender to plant. Which bees were best suited to the harsh Nebraska winters and also OK with the hot Nebraska summers? Which would be the best breeds for brand new beekeepers? So back to the internet we went. We also signed up for a 1st Year Beekeeping Class that the University was doing in February.
The class was amazing and we learned a ton about bees. The only bad part of the whole experience was that we were so excited after class that it seemed like forever until May when we could start our hives!
We decided to start with 2 hives in the spring of 2018, and add on each year until we had somewhere around 10-15 hives total. We ordered 2 packages of bees, (strange, but bees do come in packages) and 2 queens to be delivered in early May. We got 1 package of Buckfast bees and 1 package of Italian. Both are high honey producers, overwinter well and are not known to be very aggressive.
There was plenty of time to order hives, suits, and tools, so for now our prep for bees was done.
If you are reading this to catch up with us and are interested, we do post videos of most of our interactions with our bees, so people can learn along with us. We are aware we aren't doing everything right, we are just learning, but sometimes it's helpful to see how others are handling things. If you are interested, please check out our videos on Facebook and YouTube under Sleepy Bees Lavender Farm.