Prep Work

Prep Work

 “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” –Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States 


Spring is here, finally! The snow is mostly gone, and the lakes are thawing. This means it’s time to get down to business as my bees will be here in less than a week. (YAY!) I’ve got a lot of prep work to do to make sure my bees will be brought home to a comfy and healthy environment with plenty of food.

The ‘To Do List’

First on my ‘To Do List’ was to switch out one of the brood boxes that had natural color waxed Rite-Cell foundation for black waxed Rite-Cell foundation. I chose to do this for only one brood box in one of my two hives, mostly to compare between the two and to better observe egg and larvae development. The cream colored eggs and larvae will stand out a lot more on a black background for an easier view. 

I made quick work of popping out the natural colored Rite-Cell and replacing it with the black Rite-Cell. One task down…



Food for the Masses

I actually got two 5 gallons of Pro-Sweet, a 10 lb box of Ultra Bee Patties and the pint of Pro Health (same size as pictured.) I just wanted to better show what the Pro-Sweet Product and Ultra Bee Patties looked like with the clear containers.

Making sure my bees have all they need to stay nourished while I wait for nature to provide ‘the goods’ is now my next priority.  For a healthy diet, bees need both carbohydrates and protein.  These ordinarily would be provided by nectar and pollen, however these items must be substituted when there are few natural sources present. (I never thought I’d be trying to patiently wait on dandelions.) 

I will be using Pro-Sweet Liquid Feed in a top feeder as a supply of carbohydrates. These carbs will be used by the bees as a source of energy and will aid them in the production of wax. I will also be adding some Pro Health to aid in the bees’ overall well-being and support faster comb production.

As for my bees’ source of protein, they’ll be munching on Ultra Bee Patties. This is a pollen substitute that will provide the much needed protein for brood production in the colony. More bees = more work being done = getting a brand new colony nicely established and maybe, just maybe, producing some extra honey to extract. For now though, I’ll settle for the nicely established colony.


To top off my ‘To Do List,’ I have the whopping task of creating a place to put my hives. Well before I even ordered my bees, we came to the agreement that my parents’ farm property would be the ideal location for the hives. I’m super thankful that my parents are allowing me (and my bees) the use of the old farmstead, but it’s certainly not without some work to get an area ready (and safe) for my new friends. I won’t get into too many details on my bee yard yet as I’m saving that for my next post, however do be prepared for my paranoia of skunks, raccoons, and of course… bears!

Here I am making sure we’ve got a nice clean area for a future bee yard. Bear fencing soon to come.

Curious about my prep work supplies? Here’s the list below:

Krista’s Prep Work Supplies List:



13 thoughts on “Prep Work

  1. Aaron

    I recommend setting the hives on something elevated and secure(heavy) and since you won’t be around, secure them with ratchet straps to keep the lids on and keep the hives from tipping over from wind or bears lol

  2. Elizabeth Nelms

    Ah yes, bears! I have a ruined brood box with bear tooth holes in it that I show customers. I didn’t expect bears in a suburb of Denver, but we had one in the apiary three years ago and three others in the vicinity within one mile on several other occasions. Colorado Division of Wildlife was very helpful in educating us about a truly bear-proof electric fencing for the apiary. I like your idea of black foundation for the brood box. My mentor uses that, too.

    1. Kevin

      Question? Why black foundation? I thought bees don’t like black?

      1. Krista

        Hi Kevin!
        The black foundation is so I will be able to better see eggs and larvae in the cells (the cream colored eggs and larvae will stand out against a black background more so than they would in the natural colored foundation.) Since I’m a newbee I thought it would be a good idea to try this in one of my brood boxes so I can learn about brood development more easily. The bees will draw out black foundation just like they would the natural colored foundation.

  3. Brad

    I switched to black and they drew it out very nice. I figure it’s always black inside the hive anyway unless I’ve got it open to inspect, which is easier with the dark background.


    One of the biggest pests I’ve encountered are ants. Any new ideas on keeping the little varmints out of our hives?

    1. Krista

      Hi Dennis!
      The best ideas I’ve heard of is placing your hive stand in a tub of water or cooking oil. It creates a little moat for your bee hives. No dangerous chemicals involved. Also, Spreading Diatomaceous Earth in front of your hives may help, too. It feels soft and fine to a human touch but to ants and small hive beetles it is sharp and shreds them up pretty good.

    2. Debra

      I’ve had luck sprinkling ground cinnamon around and on the top of the inner cover in a hive where there’s an ant problem. Hasn’t seemed to hurt my bees at all. Once the colony is strong enough, ants seem to go away.

    3. Donnie

      As Debra suggested, to control ants, sprinkle ground cinnamon around and on the top of the inner cover. I pick it up from Dollar Tree for a buck, and spread it around the stand and on the bottom board. Works wonders!

    4. Mike White

      The legs of your hive stand should sit in cooking oil or soapy water. If you are not in a rainy area you can surround your hives with a thick line of ashes either from your fireplace or bonfire. The ants will not cross the ashes as it ruins the receptors on their legs.

  5. Dan

    i believe , just as after the first few months or season of egg laying in brood comb and with the major activity and population being in the brood boxes, the wax becomes dark from use as a matter of course. Also, it has been said many times that bees swarming have a preference for old comb in swarm traps. I would hope the manufactures of the black and yellow plastic foundation would have done a scientific study before marketing to have some evidence as to possible benefits or not of yellow versus black plastic . I currently feel it was most likely developed as a marketing after thought when someone said, ” Hey, there is dark comb after it is used, so let’s make black as well as yellow plastic and see what feed back we get.” Point: Think it through before you do. Thanks.

  6. Micah Bowman

    I’m wanting to get started into beekeeping. Just needing help on how to get started.

  7. Ken Rose

    Just starting out with new bee’s and needing to learn the ropes of bee keeping!