Saturday, May 05, 2012

We interrupt this travelogue ...

... to bring you a post about bees.
Some friends ordered a package of bees for their hive this year. The swarm that took up residence last year did not survive the winter and they didn't want to gamble on getting another swarm from me. Good thing, since I haven't gotten any swarm calls this year, surprisingly.
The bees were supposed to be ready a couple of weeks ago, but delivery was pushed back to today – when my friends were out of town. So it was up to me to collect them. I should've asked how many packages the beekeeper started with; probably three times as many as you see above, as pickups were divided into three time slots and I was in the last slot.
He was also selling individual queens, which he sent home with their new owners in red plastic cups with perforated tinfoil on top.
Before the bees went out, they were given a spritz of sugar water by the beekeeper's kids. (I was impressed when the little girl came over and said, "Daddy, I have a bee in my hair." She knew not to try to get it out herself and risk getting stung!)
The day was hot, so I didn't dilly-dally. The bees rode in the back of the Subaru. A few loose ones hovered around back there, but I had the air conditioning blasting so they wouldn't be tempted to come forward.
My friends' hive was all set up. I rearranged it a little to make the space they would be in smaller. It's supposed to cool off for a couple of days and it's better if they don't feel too exposed in a big hive.
There was one sheet of foundation to give them a head start. (I hung the queen next to it.)
And feeders at both ends, with sugar syrup. Since these bees are not a natural swarm, they did not stock up on honey and will be hungry.
If you have patience, you can watch the video. I didn't get any pictures of the process since I was by myself. I didn't edit it down, sorry. If I start messing around with iMovie it'll take hours.

So. Took the feeder can out, took the queen in her cage and hung her in the hive, then shook the rest of the bees in and replaced the top bars. In a couple of days I'll go back and release the queen, by which time the workers should have accepted her as their own.


  1. Wow...that was fascinating. You are so calm around them.

  2. Don't think my other comment went through Kit basically I am so impressed with how knowleagable and competent you sound apologies if you get it twice

  3. Loved the video and I'll watch it again I'm sure.