Mark picked up four three-packages of bees today from Spring Valley Honey Farms, and the weather was so beautiful, we installed them this afternoon. Here is the install, in pictures –
Here’s the four three-pound packages on their way to the beeyard.
We pull the queen cage out of the package to make sure everything looks good. The queen is in the cage, fairly dark in color. Attendant bees are always on the cage trying to take care of the queen.
The bees are not showing any aggression to the queen, acceptance seems a given. There is a hard candy plug in the queen cage — we speed up the process by chipping a bunch of it out with a specialized tool (bent paperclip) to make the bees’ job or releasing the queen a bit easier.
The queen cage is put in the middle of the hive body.
And the bees in the package are dumped right on top of the queen! We spray them with sugar water to keep everyone calm and easy to handle.
So, crabby Mongo has been joined by four new hives — Thor, Ole, Lili vonShtupp, and Lars.
We’ll toodle back to the bee yard tomorrow to pick up the boxes and return for our deposit.
Yesterday, we ran out to do a quick ether roll mite count and put a sticky board in the bottom of the hive, which is another way to detect mite levels in the hive. We’ve never used sticky boards, so we’re leaving it there until late Friday or Saturday. Then, we’ll put in a mite treatment and a new sticky board so we can see the difference in mite numbers. Several days after the treatment we’ll do another ether roll mite count to see how well the treatment worked.
Robin counted eight or nine mites in the roll — then she was stung in the jiggly bits. So, we went for a quick walk (Robin = waddle) away from the bees so that the stinger could be removed. in the process of stinger removal, Mark took off his veil, which promptly resulted in a sting in his ear. So, running in circles and general yelling occurred. Eventually both stingers were removed. And, we gave up counting mites in the quart jar because let’s face it — eight or nine is too damn many mites. Because tomorrow is predicted to be very warm we’re not putting the treatment in until after the heat of the day because the treatment has an upper temperature for best results.
About Idiots Keeping Bees
We're always looking for new adventures, and well, learning about beekeeping seemed like a good idea. We had one hive in 2011, and we've increased since then Our goal is 10ish colonies, but we haven't hit our mark quite yet. We've found talking with other beekeepers to be invaluable, so we're starting this blog to keep long-distance conversations rolling throughout the year. If we can figure out beekeeping, so can you!