April 9, 2005

The Bees Arrive

two packages package of bees

So, this guy just hands me 20,000 bees. And yes, they were buzzing, but you had to listen – or be holding them – to know. We picked them up around noon, but waited until 5:25 PM (to be exact) to do the installation (bees tend to stick to home turf near sunset, and this helps keep novice installers from triggering a desire to move elsewhere).


open hive bodiesopen package

The woodenware here has been reduced to just two medium hive bodies each: the bees simply don't have enough sisters to fill up a full (3 deep) hive, and the fourth "super," a place for them to store excess honey, is just wishful thinking until next year. The top hive body has been opened and a frame removed to give me somewhere to place the queen cage and dump the bees. On the right, you can see how I dressed for success, while hoping the neighbors did not find my attire interesting (note choice of posture while working).


open packagequeen cage

Here is the first package, opened and with the transit feeding can removed. The tin thing is the smoker. Watch the movie (17.8 MB) to watch me fumbling around with the queen cage and lots of interested bees.


open packagequeen cage

The smoker is used to help bees who are confused by unfamiliar and awkward newbie beekeepers to chill out. On the right, colony one is installed and I'm moving on to colony 2. Note the black splash at lower right: turns out that the first top feeder was leaking. Watch the movie (17.7 MB) to see bees being unceremoniously dumped into a hive body, on top of their new queen. Don't look at my butt.

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