Tag Archives: bee hive

New Bees

Installing Them In New Hives

I couldn’t believe it has been almost a month since my last post.  Not that there wasn’t anything to write about but life has been so hectic.  Back to normal again at last and with good news as well.

Four of the hives didn’t make it through winter and the one that showed signs of life we weren’t sure of.  So, I placed an order for two new packages bees early on.  I wasn’t going to wait since the supplier either runs out or they ship too late in the season for the hive to get established properly before winter.

The post office called today letting me know that I have to pick up the bees.  The Post Office will not deliver live animals to an individual home, period.  The weather was also on my side: sunny with a thunder storm in the afternoon.  So I picked them up and installed them in their new homes.

Two packages of bees.  This is how they were shipped.
Two packages of bees. This is how they were shipped.

A few things I do during the installation may be a little bit unorthodox like removing the cork from the opposite end from the fondant.  But I figured that the queen had been with the bees for at least  three days; it was not like I was introducing a new queen to the hive.  Also, with a storm coming, she won’t leave.  The installation process had gone well except for the Scotch tape that wouldn’t stick to the frame.  That caused an awkward maneuver on my part.

We are very happy to welcome around 20,000 children to the family.  And, adding to this, the surviving hive is very healthy and now threatens to swarm.

Here is the hives installation video.  Many awkward moments but happy all around at the end.

My Bees Swarm Again

Gift Of Summer

The second day of summer and my honeybees swarm again.  This time it was the second hive, the one that barely had anything going in to wintering and they managed to pull through.  The size of the bees from this hive is small too, smaller than the first hive’s bees.  It didn’t matter how many times I inspected this hive, I could never find the queen.  They’ve also  taken longer to build up their strength.

They pulled a high noon on me.  They swarmed exactly at noon before settling on a birch tree and waiting for the scouts to find a perfect place for their new home. I set up a new base, super and frames in a hurry.  At least I have base, though not yet coated, and frames this time.  No inner and outer cover though.  I’m using a winter inner cover and a wooden board temporarily for now.

Retrieving a swarm from twelve feet above ground wasn’t easy.  I thought I could spray them with water and brush them into a cardboard box.  As it turned out I can only do one thing at a time because I needed to hold onto a branch to prevent myself from falling off the ladder.  So, forget the brush.  I sprayed them then pulled the cardboard box along the branch that they gathered on.  The majority of them easily dropped into the box.  I quickly closed the cover and took them to their newly prepared home.   Then, back up the ladder again.  After three trips up the ladder I got most of them.  They settled pretty fast in the new hive, hive #6.

Hive #6.  I had to make do with uncoated base and bottom board, winter inner cover and a wooden board for the roof but they settled in pretty fast.
Hive #6. I had to make do with uncoated base and bottom board, winter inner cover and a wooden board for the roof but they settled in pretty fast.

After I finished with the swarm I inspected the original second hive.  This time I had no mercy.  I removed all the queen cells, two had already opened anyway, to prevent further swarming.  All frames in the super above the queen excluder were filled with honey.  So I removed four of them that were completely sealed, left the one that was partially sealed in there for them.  The bees punished me with four stings.  It really wasn’t their fault, I was robbing them of their food supply and I wore only a t-shirt, veil and gloves.

Now I have four frames of honey that need to be extracted and a new hive.  I found an old English poem below while searching for swarming:

           A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;

           A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;

           A swarm of bees in July isn’t worth a fly.

According to this poem, I nature has given me a load of hay and three silver spoons plus four frames of honey (so far).

Four frames of capped honeycombs from the swarmed hive (#2).  I should have removed some honey from hive #1 as well but after four stings, ..think I'd rather wait.
Four frames of capped honeycombs from the swarmed hive (#2). I should have removed some honey from hive #1 as well but after four stings, ..think I’d rather wait.

Beekeeping

A Novice Beekeeper

Bees always fascinate me, any type of bee.  They are hard working, well organized and take their responsibility seriously.  My respect for them grew greatly after reading everything I could find on keeping an apiary.  Why?  Many reasons: we both love honey, the honey bee population is in decline and I would like to help it along if I can, and there is my own fascination with, and curiosity about bees.

Here it is… the hive

I received my first bee hive a couple of weeks ago.  Actually it’s a kit that includes a hive, frames, smoker, hat with vail, a pair of glove, a hive tool, a beekeeping book and a DVD.  I took a beekeeping class offered by New York Botanical Garden recently, but I’m still nervous and unsure.  Bill helped me set the hive in a spot in front of our yard fence and we built a wire fence around it; just a precaution since we have both raccoon and skunk in the area.

Now, I’m just waiting for the bees to arrive from Georgia in the next day or two.  They are Italian bees I’m assured.  They are suppose to be the friendliest of all honey bees.  Hope that it’s true. I’ll have to brush up on my Italian bee language.  Let’s see; ‘Miele’ is Italian for honey, right?  Wish me luck.