Let the beekeeping begin! As you may recall, last fall Paul took the Rutgers beekeeping course. Over the winter he ordered the necessary equipment, including placing his order for two packages of bees. The hives were painted and set up a few weeks ago and we got the call yesterday that the bees were ready for us. At the last minute we chose a new hive location because our original sunny site was a bit high traffic and we got concerned for the safety of the hive. The hives are now located at the way back of the yard, where they should get nice morning sun and be well situated and safely out of harm’s way. Now, I’m not afraid of bees and I’m very excited about the honey, but…I do have a “thing” about seeing large quantities of small things, especially if those things are alive. (It was a nightmare when James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces was super popular because I flinched and wanted to throw up every time I saw the book at the library.) So the thought of seeing 14,000 buzzing bees en masse kind of grossed me out. (hmm…that number is now in question. It’s a lot, let’s just say. 6lbs) But you know me-I did want to take pictures and am excited about this venture. So, if you’re like me, be forewarned that this post has pictures of many bees!
Here is Paul with one of the cases of bees.
You open it up and remove the case with the queen.
She is held in place by a little “candy” that the bees will eat away to release her. She goes into the hive first.
Then, and this is very scientific, you DUMP the bees in.
Here’s a video (brief) of the dumping:
The bees (while still in the case) were gently misted with some sugary water to mellow them a bit. That same sugar solution is in a trough of sorts at the top of the hive. This will feed the bees for the first several weeks. I have to say I am super proud of how totally calm and mellow Paul was throughout the procedure. He was stung 3 times, which isn’t very many times considering how many there were, but one of the times was right on his face under his eye and the bee left quite a bit of venom on it. And the kids! I really have to brag about my kids here. I think a lot of kids would have shrieked and flapped as the bees flew around a bit (not a ton, but a fair amount.) They both remained totally calm, no one freaked out, no one hit at the bees (we’ve really stressed how once a bee stings you it dies, it doesn’t want to die, we don’t want it to die, please don’t hurt the bees), and no one was stung. So bravo, Clark and Tabby! It’s not easy being calm when one is literally in your hair next to your ear!