I suppose I am like most beekeepers. I like bees. I like to watch them and marvel at their beauty – in function and form. I can (and have) spent hours just watching them.
I also like to tinker. I am not over the top, but I like gadgets and experimenting. So, when I started reading about Long Langstroth (LongLangs) Hives, my curiosity was piqued. I found some instructions on the Internet for building one. Then one day last winter, I was talking with a neighbor who is an avid woodworker, about what I was looking to do. He said he was interested, in fact, very interested in helping.
He did not have to say that twice.
Several days later, I took him the plans. “Whatcha think, Gene?”
He said, “You know, I have most of this lumber laying around here.”
"Even the two-by,” I asked?
“Yes! Take a look at this.” He took me into a back storage area of his shop and found several old and weathered 2x boards. “I’ve been wanting to do something with this wood I salvaged from our house when we replaced part of the roofline. Will this work? There is more than enough…”
And that was the start of my LongLang journey.
My intent was to help Gene on weekends and after work in the afternoons. But he, being retired, jumped right into it. He’d send me phone messages occasionally, stating… “I hope you don’t mind; I did some work today. I was bored and needed something to do in the shop…”
I’d answer a texted question or two along the way. I’d stop by and make sure the dimensions were right on the bee space and even held boards while they were being cut on the table saw, but I didn’t even have to pick up a piece of hardware from the corner big-box store. He was “there anyways and got what was needed.”
When the time came for deciding where to place the entrance… I did decide I wanted to do an end entrance and make it one colony instead two side-by-side colonies with entrances on the sides. We were talking about how fun it would be to add a unique opening. Something other than a small landing pad. That would be boring. I am not sure who’s idea was a gargoyle… but I really liked it and found one, “Ralph the Gargoyle”. THAT I did order and Gene mounted it to the end of the hive.
A few days later, Gene, his wife Amanda, and another neighbor, Gary helped to move it to my bee yard and set it in place.
This past weekend, I installed the nuc and we are off and running.
As I said earlier and if you listen to the podcast regularly, I like gadgets. So, it goes without saying “Ralph” is wired with temperature sensors and sits on a scale. You can take a look at the current readings, here: https://mybroodminder.com/share/hive/4e37d52e45f247029c4cb547763a8741
I will be writing about my LongLang journey here in the blog. I am certain I will find things I’d change, management practices that I need to modify… things I cannot even begin to imagine. But it’s been a fun start.
Thanks to Gene, Amanda, Gary and Paul.
If neighbors and friends were gems then I am surrounded by a crown. I am grateful.