Tag Archive | hives

Our girls are here.

Finally.  The day that we having been waiting for since we decided to keep bees — we brought our bees home.

We drove to a local beekeeper’s house at 8 AM this morning to pick up the beginning of two new colonies.  Three weeks ago, I took him two hive bodies with 9 frames in each.  He split two of his existing colonies and with two new queens, created two new colonies and transferred them to our hives.  He’s been watching over them the last couple of weeks to make sure the bees accept their new queens.

So, now they are going to spend the spring and summer drawing out their comb, the queen’s going to be laying thousands and thousands of eggs to get the colony numbers up where they need to be and they will be making honey for survival during the winter.

This morning was FANTASTIC!  It was absolutely as fascinating as I hoped it would be.  I got stung twice in the right hand, but we learned a valuable lesson — always, always, always use smoke, even if you think you’ll only be in the hive for two seconds.  Two seconds are enough for a very pissed off bee to sting you.

Click on the pictures to get an even better view.

Beekeeping Association Meeting

The Iredell County Beekeepers Association monthly meeting was last night.  When Matt and I attended the New Beekeepers school last month, our fee for school also paid for our annual dues to the association.  It was the second meeting that we have attended and I am really glad that we went.

There was a record crowd (or so we were told) last night.  I overheard someone say that 73 people showed up.  I can confirm that it was SRO (that’s “Standing Room Only”) and that it was very, very warm.  We were sitting on top of each other with little elbow room.

I am going to take personal credit for the upsurge in popularity of beekeeping in Iredell County, NC.  I’m blogging about it (we’ll ignore my very limited audience), I’ve posted the awesome picture of me in my beekeeping suit on social network sites, and I talk about it to lots of people.  I mean, is really coincidence that so many people are getting into beekeeping just as I am getting into beekeeping?

Uh….yea.  Just a coincidence.  I’m 99.99% sure.

Matt and I are still waiting to get our bees, so we’re not actively working in any hives.  In fact, I feel like I’ve already forgotten a lot of the things we learned in Bee School.  Last night, one of the experienced beekeepers went over how to install a package of bees, giving tips and things to avoid.  He also showed a video that he found on YouTube (below):

Matt and I got tickled during this because it seemed like the speaker showed this video as more of a “what not to do” rather than a “what to do”.  Almost every time the guy in the video said, “And then you should do x, y, z”, you could hear all the beekeepers in the room start to murmur, “Oh, no, I would never do it that way.”  “That’s crazy.  You should never do that.”

One thing that Matt and I have already learned about keeping bees — everyone has an opinion on how to handle a situation.  And everyone has told us to find the way that works for us and use it.

The way to install a package that made the most sense to us was to take out 5 frames from one side of the hive, spray the bees in the package with sugar-water, remove the sugar-water and the queen cage from the package box, hang the queen cage between two of the remaining frames in the hive, shake a couple of handfuls of bees on top of the frames with the queen, then set the entire package box into the hive where the five frames were removed.  Leave alone for 7 days, come back and remove the box and replace the frames.

Now, Matt and I wish that we had bought at least one package to try this out, but we are starting our brand new colonies with nucs.  And with at least one of the nucs, we’ll take a hive box to the seller and he’ll install the five frames of brood, honey, pollen, and bees into the box and all we have to do is bring home the hive box and put in 4 more frames (we’re going to do 9 frames in a 10 frame hive).  So, for at least one nuc, we don’t even have to do the install.  😦

The veteran beekeepers also shared tips on splitting hives.  That was interesting, as well, but not as relevant to us at this stage.

The association has talked about creating a mentor program for newbies, especially to help them through the first couple of years.  I would LOVE it this would get up and running.  Several beekeepers offered to let us work with them when they were tending their hives.  Hope we get the chance.  I can’t wait to have my first bee on my finger!