Our Italian bees arrived on the farm yesterday late in the afternoon.
They came by US Postal and the people in the post office were anxious for me to take them home!
The two packages of bees were secure in screen boxes
and buzzed noisily on the way home.
Since a thunderstorm with tornadoes was brewing, we waited until this morning to hive the new arrivals. A quiet spot and a mist of sugar water, and they were happy to wait out the storm to see their new hives.
Lots of research and reading has gone into this beekeeping project
but for the hiving process a video on YouTube was the most helpful.
You can see it here.
All of the tools were on hand
and we were ready to unleash the bees.
First, we pried off the wood cover, then held carefully on to the tab while removing the can of bee food. The queen was in a box attached to the plastic tab and she has to be taken care of first.
See, she's in the small box with her attendants.
First we took the cork out of the end and then poked a hole in the white "candy" for the bees to have a jump start on releasing the queen. Then we placed the queen box in the top of the bottom (or 1st) hive box which will become the brood box.
After attending to the queen, we dumped all the rest of the bees into the hive. This is what I was really worried about! The thought of slamming a box of thousands of bees down to force them to the bottom and then shaking them out was just intimidating. It was exciting though and not scary at all when it was actually happening. They were surprisingly calm and looked like they were just trying to get their bearings.
That's a lot of bees! See the queen box in the bottom right?
Then we added the foundation-less frames to the 2nd box being careful not to smash any bees in the process. This is where they will make their comb to store their honey. It's important for them to be evenly spaced so we marked each spot with a Sharpie ahead of time. This really helped the process go smoother.
All that was left, was to stack the remaining hive with some jars of sugar syrup in the top (or 3rd) box. We will feed them over the next few weeks as they get accustom to their new surroundings.
Welcome home, sweet bees!
Pleasant words are a honeycomb.
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.