The Bees Have Arrived
The post office called at 7:00 am today to notify me that my shipment of bees is at their station. I’m required to pick it up. The bee company won’t ship bees to the house since the shipment cannot be unattended. They were shipped in a screen cage, approximately three pounds of them in there. My neighbor and I were fascinated by how much interest the people at the post office took in my bees. One person actually asked me what I will do with them. I almost said..deep fried with salt and pepper.
Anyway, I prepared everything before I could free them. It was a cloudy and cool day and the rain had just stopped. As soon as I pried the top of the cage open and lifted a tin can of food out, some of them shot right out past me. My problem was getting the queen’s cage out of the box. A whole bunch of bees were swarming on the little cage. I brushed some off, more immediately landed on it. I didn’t wear any gloves and had no smoker either since I didn’t want to stress them any more than the trip had. A little wrestling and I managed to free the queen’s cage, pop the cork on the end and set it in the hive.
Next, the nerve-wracking part…putting the bees in the hive. Following directions, I had already poured sugar water on them in the cage. I was hoping that it might make their wings stick together enough to keep them from flying off. All the books I’ve read and the DVD that came with the kit said to smack the bee cage to round the critters into one clump, then turn the cage over and pour them into the hive. Easier to read and watch than to actually do it. The first clump dropped in but a lot of bees were still hanging in the cage. In the mean time they were flying all over the place. I decided to smack the cage on top of the hive one more time then left the cage next to the hive. I thought they could find their own way out. I closed the hive and walked away.
I went back to check on them an hour later. The bees in the cage were still huddled together in a clump. I turned the cage over and dumped them on the ground in front of the hive. With that, they fly up to the hive. It worked! Through all this I was never stung once. I was told they were very friendly and they were right.
I guessed they were hungry. They consumed half a quart of sugar water in three hours. At the end of the day I had to add more sugar water to the feeder. They seemed to have settled down by nightfall. There was a small knot of bees hanging out at the front of the entrance this evening. I think they’ve started to make a home for themselves now since I see some bits of wax that they chewed off the foundation dropped on the tarp under the hive.
Welcome to the neighborhood!