Thursday, April 16, 2009

Honey Bee Installation Day

Here's the hive in place with everything painted. We took a few days to observe and see what kind of sun it would get in this spot and it seemed the right amount from all we'd read... best sun/shade mix with appropriate wind breaks, via our trees.

Of course as soon as you get anything built these days some pesky job site inspector shows up, in this case, Newt. She scented some plants in the area with a few face rubs, then pawthorized the new structure and moved on. Whew!

While the hive has been ready for a bit, today was actually Honey Bee installation day! Carniolan honey bees to be specific. Carniolan's are the second most popular honey bee after the Italian. We went with Carniolan because they are more cold hearty, are good at defending themselves against insect pests, are resistant to some bee diseases, and are very gentle with bee keepers. Latter being very important to us newbies! The first thing we did was prep the hive zone, above.

We brought the box of bees with their queen home in the back of the subaru, and left them there to stay warm, but out of the direct sun while we got setup. Here Doug is close to the fence checking out what we are doing. I am pretty sure he wanted to know, "What is all that buzzing???"

Next we sprayed the bees well with sugar water, so they'd be full and happy when we set them free.

One last thing before we released them was to change the cork holding the queen in her excluder to a mini-marshmallow. The queen and bees are shipped together, but with the queen in the excluder, so the bees will be exposed to her pheromones and accept her prior to release. If they don't have some time to get to know her first, then they might kill her. The bees actually eat through the candy plug to release her, taking a day... even two, or so we'd been told. The delay also gives the bees some time to draw out comb, so the queen can get right to laying when she does get eaten free.

This is 3 pounds of honey bees in a shipping box.

This is 3 pounds of honey bees, in the hive, on the hive, in the air, on the ground, in and on the shipping box, and on the photographer. The lighter color stick like object is an entrance reducer, which we had opened further so the bees could better find their way in the hive. After dark when the bees settled we put it in the opening to make it smaller for a time. This helps keep the new bee colony safer from pests and warmer, until they get established.

Here's a video of the bees getting poured into the hive. The queen is in her excluder already hung in between frames as we pour them in. Please note that within a couple hours of installing the bees, we discovered the marshmallow [that should have taken the bees at least a few days to eat through] intact, discarded about 18 inches in front of the hives opening. Apparently the queen was released TODAY, and with author-i-ty! We have to wait almost a week, until we get to peak again to see if our queen made it out alive. Stay tuned!

Last, but not least, some pictures of our baby Magnus, after his own tail. This is best done hanging upside down while on the cat tree. See that pesky tail... I'm getting you!

Getting a bit plump these days, he soon lands with a thump on the shelf below. Usually not head first. Usually.

That tail was probably sour anyway...


Oldnovice said...

That was very interesting. My first thought was that the hive is too close to your house door, but maybe it just looks close in that first pic.

No gloves worn while working with the bees? I cringe at the thought.

What happens if you can't find the queen?

Seven Trees said...

It's pretty close to the front door, but we don't really use that door, and the front of the hive faces away, so they seem calm about it.

It was kind of scary working without the gloves, but lots of sources say it's ok when the hive isn't guarding honey, and that sometimes wearing gloves makes you clumsier which pisses them off. So we went for it, and didn't get stung...

If we can't find the queen, we can get a replacement from the bee store, but hopefully she's in there directing traffic ;)

They sure are fun to watch, They're already scouting for flowers and bringing back pollen!

Oldnovice said...

Well, good luck with them. Between increased interest in beekeeping (even the WH is doing it) and a cure for colony collapse disorder, it looks like the world is saved once again. :-)

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

[url= ]compra levitra [/url] fgChe cosa ГЁ divertente messaggio acquisto levitra dopowbrwyj [url=]comprar viagra[/url]