Sunday, May 16, 2010

Installing The Bees

Picking Up The Bees At Supplier

On Thursday, 5/13, my boys and I picked up the bees on our way home from work and school. By the time we got home, nearly 2 hours away, it was almost dark. I was hoping to be home at least an hour earlier than I was. By the time we got everything set up, the sun went down. I had decided earlier to go ahead and install them even if it got dark. The next day was supposed to be warm and sunny; perfect for foraging. I debated about it more before installing the packages and decided to just do it.

The hive will consist of all medium hive bodies and foundationless frames, except for 1 frame of wax foundation in the middle to act as a guide for the bees to draw straight comb. All of the other frames will have just popsickle sticks glued into the grove. I also put a little lemongrass oil on the frames, since I know they are attracted to the scent. The first 2 boxes will be brood chambers. Additional boxes will be honey supers. I decided to go with all mediums due to weight issues of filled boxes.

Ready For Installation!

Installing the entrance reducer

Removing The Cork

Installing The Queen Cage In Hive

Shaking in da BEES!

I thought I would be nervous, but I was at complete ease. I enjoyed the process. We got a flashlight out and while I was installing the packages, Steve lit the scene and took pictures. We removed 2 frames from the hive body (brood chamber) to make room to shake in the bees. I then gently sprayed sugar water over the the packages of bees and the frames in the hive.

I had a tool that looks like a Leatherman. Steve used it to pull the wooden board up from the package, just sliding it back enough for me to pull the queen's cage out. I used a screw to act as a miniature corkscrew to remove a small cork in the end of the queen cage. Behind the cork was a piece of candy that the bees will chew through to release their queen. I sprayed the cage lightly with sugar water and then put it between 2 frames in the hive, the one with with wax foundation, the other with just the popsicle sticks glued into the groove.

After I installed the queen, I used the pliers of the tool and removed the can of sugar water that was in a cutout next to the cutout for the queen cage. Next it was time to dump in the bees! I shook and shook and shook but not all came out. Steve took over and shook in most of the rest of them. We sat the nearly empty package on the ground so the stragglers could find their way home. We then closed up the box.

I used a can opener and opened the can of sugar water. I poured all of it into a poultry feeder jar (same size lid as a mason jar). Steve made sugar water while I was on the way home and that, combined with what was in the can, filled the jar to the top. Steve installed the water feeder on Boardman feeder on the hive. The first hive was complete! We followed all the same steps for the second hive, but this time when I couldn't shake all the bees in, I thumped a corner on the ground to loosen them up (as instructed in our class). That did it. All the bees were then installed.

Then.......later that night.......IT THUNDERED!

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