Friday, May 13, 2011

New Bees

Last week I had 4 new bee packages arrive. 2 are from a guy in Illinois, David Burns. The other 2 were from Georgia and they are Russian bees. Russians are a bit different versus their Italian counterparts but I am hoping they prove to be hardy and mite resistant.

First thing is to pick the packages up from the post office and then gear your helpers up into their bee suits. My three youngest girls wanted to help today.

 The packages calm down a bit if you spray them with some sugar water, so that was the job for Rose. She was the best bee sprayer ever!

Now take the top off and remove the can which contains syrup that the bees eat during shipment.

Remove the queen cage which is near the syrup can. There are bees clinging to her cage but she is safe inside with a few nurse bees.
Have the younger keepers check to see if she seems fine and to tell you the color of her mark. This year the "mark" on the queens is white. I have my queens marked so I can not only find her quickly, but can determine if she gets replaced by her colony, etc.
Dump the bees in, add the frames and queen cage (with the candy-side cork removed)  and close it up!
The Russians bees were placed in an apiary of their own, far from my Italians. I do not wish for them to cross breed so I am keeping them in different yards. This apiary is actually near my drive so it's convenient for me to glance and observe when we leave to go somewhere.
I expected my russians to be a darker color, but here they are on the Queen cage just before I put her in the hive.

Here you see the Queen with the white mark on her back.
When I checked on the hives 3 days later, the Russian Queens were not yet out, although the candy entrance was eaten. I had to release them and hope they are accepted. I will check on them Monday and see if they are laying eggs yet. Here's hoping for a successful season. We are still in nectar flow and I am also hoping for a surplus of honey to extract, but like all things agriculture.......don't count your chickens until they hatch!

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