Thursday, May 7, 2020

Watching The Bees

A week ago, I received a package of bees and installed them in their new hive.  I waited a week (because the weather has been too darn cold to open the hive!) and checked to make sure the queen had been released from the little cage in which she is delivered.  Success!

I took a quick look into the hive and was very pleased to see that the workers were pulling out honeycomb and the queen was laying lots of beautiful bee eggs. 

A quick tutorial:  

When you receive a package of bees, you set up your hive and then you pull up the little wooden square in the middle of the top of the box.  What you'll see is the top of a tin can which hangs from the top of the box.  This is a can of sugar water to feed the bees in transit and it fits perfectly into the hole.  Your next job is to carefully pry out the can of sugar water.   I save the wooden square that I've pryed up so that as soon as the can is out I can cover the hole - so the bees don't come flying out.  

You can see in the pictures above that there is a strap attached to the queen cage.  This holds the queen and a few attendants safely near the top of the shipping package.  You don't want the worker bees to get to her before you put everyone in the beehive!  They'll start building comb and she'll start laying - or because she's a new queen, they'll ball up around her and she'll die.  Now you pull out the queen's cage and set her aside.

Now it's time to dump the worker bees into the hive.

You then carefully slide the frames back into the cage.

You then pull a little cork plug on the queen cage.  The bees still can't get to her because they have to eat through a sugar plug.  This gives them a chance to get to know her scent and accept her as their queen.  I like to lay the cage on top of the frames facing down.  

I close up the hive and wait....

It's always a good idea to keep a water source close to the bees... this way they hopefully aren't going into your neighbors pool.  

I've tried to give them nice fresh water and they don't want it.  They'll go for the nastiest, dirtiest water before they'll touch the fresh water... so I let the water get pretty gross.  

Now we're having terrible cold weather and I'm crossing my fingers that they don't suffer too terribly.  I know along with everyone else I'm ready for spring to come once and for all!

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