Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bee Installation Success

As I mentioned Thursday, the bees had arrived.  This was clear indication to me that something exciting, and interesting was about to happen on my MooseBoots journey.  Friday, the weather was gorgeous, but I could not get to Gold Star to pick up my package.  So, they had to wait until Saturday morning.  As luck would have it, the girls didn't have dance class.  The weather was cool and rainy.  Wendy and I talked on the way up and decided that we would install the bees while it was cool ... they would be lethargic and easy to deal with.

We arrived at the same time as another beekeeper picking up a hive.  She and Christy were chatting and the comment was made that they pitied anyone who tried to "put bees in a box today."  It got the gear turning ... why?  The light bulb went off for us ... the bees need to stay warm and we would be dumping them in a loose heap on the bottom of the hive.  They being cold, would not be able to clump together and likely they would die!  So, we decided to wait until today.  On the drive home, the bees got very active in the warmth of the truck.  But, there were a lot of dead bees on the bottom of the package - this was one of the better packages left.  We had just enough time to drop them off at the house before Cinderella choreography for Big Little Sister.

This morning, the day dawned a brilliant blue.  I goofed around for a bit and then decided to prepare the hive for the installation.  I re-watched a few videos on installing the bees and noted a few "differences" between what I did last year and what the video showed.  Of course, I also benefited from the filter of experience rather than that of a new-bee.

Then, I stepped out to place the hive in its home and was hit between the eyes - it was gorgeous out!  The sun was shining brightly and it was in the mid/upper 50's at 10:00.  Perfect weather for "hiving the bees."  Wendy and I moved the hive into position and got everything prepared.  This year, as opposed to last year, we were not pressed for time.  There was nothing else to do today, except hang out at home.

So, it was time.  I took the package out with what I thought was all of the stuff.  Alas ....  I pried the cover up from the package and was surprised that the queen cage came with it ... now, there is an opening for bees to use.  I flipped the cover over and pulled the queen cage off of the staple that went through the metal tab.

It was at this point I realized I needed a hammer, a nail, and a drywall screw.  Wendy volunteered to get those things.  And, we quickly proceeded.  I punched a hole in the tab, pulled the cork and attached her to a bar.  So, the queen was in the hive.  So far, so good.

Then, everything moved very quickly.  We had a quick discussion on "bonking" the box and how we were going to dump the bees into their new home.  This is a little unnerving ... 10,000 bees flying around going, "hey, someone just threw us on the ground and then poured us into a box like so much cereal into a bowl."  I'll admit, the package sat in the hive for a few second before I extracted it.  Then, we covered over the opening with many of our new friends flying around.  A few, however, became "closer" friends.

Tonight, we all go to bed, secure in the knowledge that we have done good work - the bees and we.  I hope that this part of my MooseBoots path works out more favorably for us and the bees.  Regardless, we all win.  The bees have a new home.  We helped some new friends move into their new home.  And, no one got injured in the process - no stings means no bees died. We are all content.  Bee Well!


  1. What an interesting post - you thinking about writing a book now, too, Eric? lol If you have alot of sunshine down there this week, send some up here. They're calling for 5 days of rain and thunderstorms...and we've still not got the plastic on our hoophouse and I NEED to start working outside in my gardens!!

    Keep us posted on your new bees, wishing you success this season.

  2. It was a good day :). All of those bees flying around is a little intimidating, but I have to thank you for showing me how to remain calm, and when we're calm, they're calm(er). It's still a little freaky to have them buzzing around my head, but it's also pretty cool.

    And for those who wonder, dousing the bees with sugar water works great! In the picture above, the bee on Deus Ex Machina's finger is licking off the sugar water that I inadvertently sprayed all over his hands (sorry, hon ;), but it was a pretty cool thing to see.

  3. I wish you guys good meet our local bee keeper, Robert Ireland. Check out the "Bee Man" link on my blog, if you haven't already.

  4. duh, all that talk of bees and honey...I meant "you guys COULD meet our..." ;)

  5. Julie, I am glad you enjoyed following along. It certainly wasn't as entertaining as last year's installation. I'm not sure what you mean about a book ... care to elaborate? Wendy and I have kicked around the idea of collabortating on one. I will check out your link.

  6. Wendy, I may appear calm, but inside I was a bit jumpy too. I guess, like life, it is all what you show the world. Darn, I thought the bee likely me because I was soooo sweet!


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