So when we last left our hero, I had just completed the "enclosure" for my little friends.
I won't bore you with the countless pictures I took ad nauseum of the progress of the fence as I was putting it up. I know that you are all just soooooooo eager to see the freaking bees.
I will leave you with one photo...
Notice the cut outs? That's for me when I get bored and need to spy on my neighbors! They think my fence will stop my snooping! Bah! I say Bah! The up shot is, Paulie likes them too!
Okay, the bees.
These photos I'm showing now are 4 weeks old. This is when I first got them.
That's how 3 pounds of bees, (roughly 10,000 bees) plus the queen, arrives.
The postman delivered them in one of those plastic US Post Office boxes. He gave me a side glance, "here are your...bees" and nudged the box with his foot toward me. I was so happy to finally get them, (they took a week to get here), I just picked box right up and handed his US Postal box back. "You want this right?" I said. He sort of just snatched it back. "Yeah, thanks" and took off across the lawn.
I. Have. Bees!
It was still early in the day so I had to wait a while. I sat them on top of a trash can in my garage in the dark. I read somewhere it was suppose to calm them down.
Each time, I would have to go out in to the garage to get a tool or something, I would flip on the lights. Oh boy, the bees didn't like that. "We're trying to sleep over here!"
Just like humans, bees "sleep" at night. More like naps. I mean, heck they are working none stop all day long they could use a little shut eye.
So anyway, around dusk is the perfect time to introduce them to the hive. They are winding down after a long day and a long trip to my house.
Now, I have a lack of photos regarding the actual procedure of introducing the bees to the hive because my much more significant other was working. So I was flying solo.
However, before all this could happen I had to assemble the frames.
This is an assembled frame.
These are frames with a "foundation". Meaning the bees have something to work off of. There are "foundation-less hives but that's not something, as a first timer, I want to try right now.
I assembled them by putting the wax foundation into the frame. It's not as easy as it sounds.
I had 16 of them. One for the upper and lower "deeps". A "deep" is another term for the brood chamber where the bees lay their eggs, store their honey and pollen. When you start out, you only have a "lower deep" or one brood chamber so the bees can get accustomed to the queen and the hive.
Okay, The queen...
That's her on the left. On the right you see some sort of "cloudy" mess. That's sugar. It's a time release sort of thing.
You see, the queen is not raised with the bees that I received, so she has to be "introduced" to the hive. Which means they have to exchange pheromones back and forth. Basically, the bees are sizing her up and figuring out if she will be a good queen.
Bee #1: So what do you think of the new queen?
Bee #2: I just hope she doesn't get all, "oh look at me, I'm the queen!" I'll have none of that.
Bee #1: You only live 5 weeks she live 2 years.
Bee #2: then we should be more special, no? She should be kissing our feet!
If I just chucked the queen in there without first introducing her, the bees would kill her by stinging her to death. Nice image, huh?
So over a period of about 5 days, she eats through one side of the sugar and the bees in the hive eat through the other side. All the while checking her out.
Thankfully, they didn't reject her. Yay!
Okay, so the procedure goes like this. I take out half the frames and hang the queens container in-between two of the middle frames. Then I dump half the bees on her and the other half into the bottom of the hive.
Then I add the remaining frames.
You can see the queen box set between the frames and the bees running around trying to figure out their new digs.
On the side, you will notice a yellow thingy. That's their feeder. Yes, you need to feed bees. It's a sugar water mixture at a 2:1 ratio. Thick syrup.
That helps the hive get up and running. Without it, they probably would either slowly starve to death, or just take off and swarm away. Until they can establish feeding areas and have an adequate supply of nectar, they must be fed.
Now I just sit and wait. This all happened one month ago.
Just what have they been doing since then?
Well tune in next week and find out!
Whew! That was a lot of typing and a lot of info!
I will leave you now with some relaxing pict of my garden and flowers around my house.
Well, that's it for this week! Next week, more bees, and the next project in my yard, which I like to refer to as the Concrete Path of Death. :) Cheery, no?
As always, Green is Good!