Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yay for Bees

As some of you know I decided to start keeping bees this year. Well, they finally arrived.

I purchased two 3 pound packages of bees with marked queens from Weaver Apiaries in Navasota way back in November and they were delivered on Friday April 10th. I had been sick that week and did not have the hive stand prepared just yet so I had to put off installing them until Monday instead of Sunday as planned. I managed to get the stand welded on Saturday while Emiloo was at the bridal shower. We had a guys version with cold beers and hot brats-thanks Sam for the party!

Emiloo and I got the stand all assembled and set up the hives to be ready for the bees Monday. After following all of the guides I had read I installed the bees and closed the hives up satisfied with
what I had accomplished and also happy I was not stung once.

But then I had a feeling I had forgotten something. When you get a package of bees and a queen she is in a little screened box inside the big box of bees. The little box has a little plug on the end made of sugar. And keeping the bees on the outside from eating the sugar plug during shipping is a piece of cork. While you are installing the queen you take out the little piece of cork to let the bees on the outside eat the sugar plug to free the queen. Over the few days of shipping, and being released from her cage the queen is accepted by the hive bees as the leader and after she is freed will begin her egg laying job. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove the cork piece. So I had to reopen the hives and remove the cork stopper. No apparent problems though and I got the cork removed and the queens replaced again. Whew.

Here's some pictures of it happening taken by the fearless Emiloo.

I'm doing foundationless frames and that is one of the frames I'm holding. Her box is hanging in the middle of that frame. They were clustered all over the little screened box she was in and I had to shake them off to fix the problem. Sorry girls!







Here's the second hive's frame with the queen. You can kind of see the tiny box she's in. They sure do like her! You can also see a string of them 'festooning' in a little bee chain in the lower right area.

The hives are painted with 'oops' paint from Home Depot for cheaps. We lucked out and scored a gallon of light mossy green exterior paint.












Have to put the frame back in nice and slow so you don't squish anyone. That would bee a mistake. You can see smoke in the lower left hand corner which is from my smoker sitting on the ground next to the hives. It works very well.




Once 5 days are up around Sunday I am going back in to see if the queens are free and to check and see what the bees have been doing all week. I can hardly wait!

Bee cool!
Jim

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