Monday, June 7, 2010

Here They Are

Last week I had 2 new packages of bees arrive from South Georgia so I thought I would share exactly how this is done. (At least how I do it) First off, they arrived at the post office just like this and the postmaster called me that morning so I could pick them up. I bring a spray bottle of sugar water and give them a good spray. It calms them, so they say. It also prevents them from being able to fly or sting while they are covered with sugary water.

This is what you see when you take the top off. It is a can that is filled with sugar water for the bees to consume on their trip. There are a few tiny holes punched in the bottom of the can. The wire looking thing on top of the can is actually the queen's cage. She's being held near the side of the can so that the bees will keep her warm and fed through her cage.

Next I pull the can out and the queen cage out as well. There were bees clinging all over her cage so I shook them off so I could look at her and see that she is alive and active. Each year queen breeders mark their queens with a universal color. This year the color is blue. It will make it easier to not only find her but to recall what year she was introduced to her hive. Ideally hives should be re-queened each year.
 Notice that one end of the cage is blocked with something white. It is a fondant candy. I take out a small cork on that end to expose this candy and the bees will eat the candy out so the queen can be released. This is a new queen for this bee package so by the time they release her they have started to accept her and will not kill her.
Now all is left is to spray the bees with sugar water to prevent them from flying off and then dump them into their new hive. Once they are in I place the queen cage in there so that the bees can reach her and then close the hive up.

New hives have lots of work to do in order to be prepared for winter so I will feed mine all summer with sugar water. This hive has a feeder on top. I also leave the open package at the front so any wandering bees from the package will find there way to their home. I check after 3 days to see if the queen is released and then again after a week to see if she is laying eggs.
This here is the inside of a honey box or super. This is honey that is almost ready to extract and eat!!!!!! Isn't it beautiful?
That is it! A very special thanks to my junior beekeepers, Indiana and Willow. They helped install my packages and had a great time helping me inspect a few more hives while we were out there.
Now, don't you want to get some bees of your own next year?

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