Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beekeeping: Introducing the Bees to their Hive

It's been a dream of my husband's to keep bees. He took an apiary class in college and growing up a friend in Alaska kept bees and sold the honey. He seems like the perfect beekeeper, calm and sweet. ; ) But up until last summer we didn't have a place to keep bees... But then my sister-in-law and brother bought a cute little house in Pennsylvania (about a 10 minute drive away). My sister-in-law also wanted to keep bees (along with chickens and other awesome domestic fare). Last year we gave them the Bee Keeper's Bible as a House warming gift and then my husband got one for christmas (it's an amazing book, I highly recommend it!). So after attending a few local beekeeping meetings, they ordered their bees this spring and set to making the hives. Then this past Sunday they introduced their bees to the hives. It was pretty exciting to watch and I thought you might like to see some pictures and see how they did it!

The bees in their transportation hive. Did you know that they only poo when they fly!? so they had been holding "it" a long time during their voyage from Georgia. Needless to say the bee keepers were covered with yellow bee poo.

The Queen Bee arrives in a little cage with bees surrounding her, with a few whose personal job it is to feed her. The cage was stapled to the new hive before the remaining bees were dropped in. This Wednesday, if it appears that all of the bees are loyal to the Queen, the beekeepers will release her from her cage and the bees will get to work!

Hannah dumping the rest of the bees into the hive. While doing this- they sprayed the bees with sugar water to feed them and to ensure they would be full, calm, and a bit slow, not agitated and therefore wouldn't be so ready to sting. If they did sting, the beekeeper's have a spray bottle full of rubbing alcohol that they spray on the sting to remove the scent that calls the other bees to sting. This was only used twice on Sunday. ; )

Then sugar water was placed in the top of the hive. This will feed them while they get adjusted and settled in their new digs. Eventually more screens will be placed in the top for the bees to comb up with honey!

not stinging, just hanging out...

The bees being emptied into the second hive.

Pretty exciting stuff! I'll be sure to report back on how this beekeeping adventure goes. I guess it's rare to have honey the first year, but it would be cool! Regardless, I've read how nice it is to sit and watch bees during different times of the day, coming and going, busy about their task... how calming it is, and how it seems to reset one's own hectic pace of life. I'm in!

1 comment:

Philly Art Girl said...

That is... SO. COOL. OMG, so cool. I love how the queen comes in that little special bee clump. If you guys get chickens, you'll have to do a post like this one.


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