Friday, May 25, 2007

A slow start

Well it's been 11 days since a box of bees became a hive of bees and it was a little worrying as things took longer than the text books all say they should :-)

Basically here's the calendar:

  • Monday: installed the bees
  • Thursday: checked the hive and while there was no candy left the queen was still in the cage so I removed the wire and let her walk into the hive body.
  • Saturday: checked again, comb is being drawn, sugar syrup is going fast and the queen is still active but no sign of eggs.
  • Tuesday: quick check, much the same, plenty of foraging and some comb now has syrup and pollen stored. A little worried that the lack of eggs is a bad sign, but maybe we're just slow.
  • Thursday: went down mainly to add a second hive body and top up the syrup - but who could resist checking, and there were plenty of eggs and even a few larvae!
So, going to have to resist temptation to check other than just topping up the syrup now for a while.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pictures of the package install

Here's a set of pictures from the package install yesterday.

1. First the package as it arrived, you can see it's pretty healthy and even with the heat this time of year there are very few dead bees in the box.

2. With the hive disassembled it's time to begin.

3. Opening the package itself was uneventful, the queen cage was easy to get to, the feeder easy to remove - although the bees were pretty eager to escape right from the get-go.

4. Here we are emptying out the bees into the space in the hive, lively little things they are.

5. Just brushing a few bees off the queen cage here.

6. Closing up ...
7. Topping up the feeder (1:1 sugar water solution with just a little Honey-B-Healthy).
8. And finally, all closed up and done.

All in all it was pretty easy, I have the second hive all assembled but doubt I'll get it populated this year - but good to have it just in case the opportunity arises.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Woo Hoo!

Well the day arrived, started with a call from the Post Office to come pick up the package of buzzing bees. So this afternoon which was a great day, warm and with a light breeze after a really windy and rainy weekend, we put the girls into the hive. The kids watched as I stumbled my way through the process but it was still pretty easy and painless (no stings).

The only wrinkle in the process was that when I took the cork out of the queen cage there was no candy below and rather than put the queen in directly with the colony I put the cork back loosely and will hope for the best. I'll be back later in the week to check and fingers crossed everything is OK. I did walk down this evening at dusk and there was plenty of gentle activity, orientation flights, a lot of the dead bees from the package already dumped out front.

Will post pictures hopefully tomorrow.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Last week was busy...

Well, in anticipation of the arrival of bees last Friday all the last minute work had to be done last week. More weed cloth and mulch around the hive, mowing down the grass, clearing away all the brush for recycling and more. Thursday I got up at 6:00 to drive out to Brushy Mountain to spend some more money (my birthday gift from the family) and bought a second hive, some additional supers and a nuc. So Thursday afternoon everything looked good, I was ready, planning to work at home Friday, the weather looked good for Friday (not too hot not cold)...

The the call from Rossman, due to the cold weather over Easter and some loss of bees they are running behind in delivering out packages :-( So now it looks as if it will be this week, maybe, before the bees arrive so am a little bummed. On the bright side it meant I got to finish painting the new woodenware and also have a pair of Tulip Poplars to plant before the girls arrive.