April 24, 2010

My mentor reminding me that I forgot to cut slits in the pollen patty and hubby handing me the knifen while video taping. Me pouring the bees into the hive. After the bees and queen were installed I spaced the frames equal width apart and mentor watches to make sure I do it correctly. 4/25/10 - I checked on the girls to see if they are consuming the surgar syrup and it appears like they are. A picture of the guard bees. They removed one dead bee from the hive and left it outside the door. This is a pic of our hive from our deck. Thank you to my darling daughter Maya for taking all the pictures for me!


Hiving our bees did not happen without incident. Firstly, I had to create a top feeder for my new babies. Usually this is done by filling a 1 gallon bucket with sugar syrup, poking a few holes in the cover, flipping it over on the inner cover of the hive so that the bees can use their little tongues to eat. Well, it didn't work. The water kept pouring out, which would drown the bees, so #1 we panicked first! #2 Then we called another beekeeper to see what to do, then #3 we had to run around to look for a large enough mason jar to feed the bees. Finally found one with little time to spare to hive the bees. Around 6 pm my mentor came over to oversee the hiving while my next door neighbors came out with their binoculars to watch me. We suited up and he verbally walked me through the process. Of course, when it came time to remove the feeder can from the box in order to free the queen and dump the bees the darn can didn't want to come out. My mentor worked on it, I worked on it. I'm not exactly sure how long it took but it felt like ages before my mentor finally got it out. I pulled the queen out and set her aside, then picked up the box to dump the bees in the hive. Most of them went into the hive without incident but a cloud of bees quickly formed above my body. My hubby was behind me video taping and I could hear him yelling to our kids, who happen to be watching from the deck about 15 feet away, that the swarm was growing so they'd better get inside the house. I was surprised that I wasn't worried about being stung but I did feel my knees shaking beneath me. I wasn't sure if that was anxiety or the fact that my knees are worthless and I'd been leaning on them a long time. I was so focussed on following all the steps I learned in class that I didn't really worry about all the bees landing on me (hubby said there was over 2 dozen on my back). At one point I reminded myself that if I did happen to get stung that I must remain calm so the words "remain calm, remain calm, remain calm" started spinning in my head. I released the queen (BTW/she's stinkin smart. She had her little nose pressed up against where I was about to open and she was ready to get out), when I released her she THANKFULLY crawled out onto the frame. I spaced the frames, put the jar of syrup on and closed the hive. My mentor had me leave the openings to the hive accessible for the bees because there were still too many hovering outside.

We left all entrances open for about 30 minutes and then slowly, one by one, my new girls found their way into the hive. There were a few stragglers on my gloves as we were cleaning up so I watched them walk around and use their little tongues to explore. I found myself falling in love with my new babies. I no longer saw them as insects that I feared but instead I felt about them like I feel about my dogs. I want to care for them and make sure they are happy.

I can happily say that I did not experience a single sting (one day down and a million to go, right?!) but my mentor received a sting on the hand. Thankfully it didn't go through his gloves.

BTW/I learned something interesting that I was not previously aware of. I ordered Carniolans but I received Italians. My mentor explained to me that the queen is a Carniolan and her babies are most likely pure Carniolans. The Italians are best to have initially as they build up the frames quickly but the Carniolans will come after the initial batch die off.


I inspected the hive to make sure the girls were eating. It looks like things are going well so far. I crouched down about a foot from the hive to watch the bees. They were already busy doing what they do best, hunting for pollen. I watched them file out single file and fly in non-stop. I didn't notice any pollen stuck to their legs but hopefully that will come in the next day or two. I'm inspecting them every day just to make sure they don't run out of syrup.
TeresaR said...

I love your's like standing next to you and watching you do this, but far less dangerous. LOL! this will really help me when (if and when) we get our bees!

Michelle said...

You would really enjoy it and I'm sure your kids would like it as well.

Will, said...

Wow - glad to see it all came together! I'm glad you took the plunge. I'm using a top feeder - its a plastic tray with an inverted clear dome thing bulging into the tray - allows the bees to crawl up through the bulge and walk down into the syrup to feed - supposed to prevent drowning. Been working well for me. You can see it in some of the videos on my site. Feeding will need to continue for a lil while as the hive is building themselves up. Good luck!

Michelle said...

Thank you Will for the tip on the feeder and the feeding! It helps a lot :)