Friday, March 29, 2013

The bees move in

The bees have arrived, and so has a cold front! But given the difficulty of obtaining bees right now, rescheduling wasn't on my agenda.

Instead, I got some help from a trusted friend, and installed the bees in my garage for a few nights. Sounds so easy!
The process itself wasn't so bad. The first step is to fish the queen cage out of the package and install it onto a frame foundation, like so:
The queen is in a cage plugged with some sugar candy, for her own protection. It will take a while for the bees to accept this new queen as their own. While they get used to her pheromones, they will eat away at the sugar and free her over the course of 2-3 days.
After the queen is installed, the bees can be shaken from the package directly into the hive. Pop a lid on top and done! Oh wait. It's still pretty cold out, and no nectar is flowing. Bees need to eat, too! I installed interior syrup feeders in both hives.

Then I waited until evening, presumably any stray bees would have returned to their colonies. Sadly, many of them died of exposure even in the garage! At night, I duct taped window screen over all openings of the hive and that's how they were for 2 days. And they were not very happy about that.


On day 3, we carried the hives outside to their final location and removed the screens. Oh happy day! Somehow the bees make me feel a whole lot closer to living on a real homestead. Next up: We'll plant them an orchard!

If you want to see a video of me hiving a package of bees, click here.

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