Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm A Beekeeper

It's official, I am a beekeeper.
I finished my 8 week class last Thursday with a really great lesson on pollen and plant sources. (Did you know that a watermelon only pollinates for 1 day between the hours of 7am-3pm and it takes 24 bees to do it?)

My bees arrived the same day as our last class, a fun coincidence. I actually didn't get to pick them up til Saturday, well my husband did, as I was taken down by an allergic reaction to a new medication, but that is a whole other story. I was weak from not eating for 2 days, but wanted to get them installed before the snow predicted for Sunday. I reread all of my notes on installation, as I did not get to see an actual install due to illness, got all my gear together, zipped my veil and jacket and headed out to put my bees in their new home.

This was far from the most graceful install, I did the number one thing NOT TO DO, I dropped the box as I was dumping the bees. Fortunately not too many were lost, one did sting me, but I deserved that, other than that the little gals were calm and bared with me through the whole learning experience.

It was a cold weather install on undrawn comb, so the first step was to spritz the bees with sugar water while still in the shipping crate. I then removed the can of food and looked for my queen cage. She was at the bottom of the box and the only way to get her was to start dumping bees, so out they went...

I removed the cork, poked a hole in her sugar seal with a nail- careful not to spear her, and positioned her in between the top of 2 frames. Then I knocked the box a couple more times to get the rest of the bees out of the crate. I placed on the inner cover, then placed a mason jar quart of feed over the hole, placed an empty super, then my telescoping cover, and prayed for the best over the next few days.
It did snow on Sunday, which really had me afraid for my little girls. I checked them on Monday, careful not to disturb them, just check in on their food supply and they had emptied it, fortunately I had a replacement at the ready and gave them a refill. Tuesday was warm and they were out playing, waggling in the sunshine- completely awesome to watch. Wednesday I did a quick refill of their food again as we are expecting a mix of snow/rain tonight. I am happy to report they are doing well. I can't wait for it to be warm enough for me to open up the hive and see just how productive they have been and remove the hopefully now empty queen cage. And so begins my first year of beekeeping!

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait for the honey to arrive!! And then you can send me some so I can bake with it! :)