They came today on a truck from Cottage Grove. Four frames of bees and honey and a new, fertilized queen ready to lay thousands of eggs.
After dropping the kids at school I drove to Ruhl’s bee supply in Gladstone to pick up the nucleus hive (nuc). It’s the small wooden box you see above underneath the hive. Since they are from only an hour away they should be used to our lovely wet weather.
Kate and Mary Ann gave me great moral support when I struggled to open the lid of the box. It was only held in by two nails, but I swear it was the hardest part of the whole adventure.
Next I moved the black feeding tray over. We might use it in addition to the entrance feeders if the bees go through more than a quart a day. It is quite cool and rainy these days, so they may need the extra food until they get a chance to find enough nectar in the neighborhood. We’re feeding them 1:1 sugar syrup with some extra goodies such as chamomile tea and lemongrass loosely following to this recipe. Bees like herbs too! Besides Rudolph Steiner recommends these things and I like what he has to say about nature.
I also put some chunks of pollen patty on top of the frames. It looked like such an interesting substance I just had to taste it. Reminds me of the old power bars, or maybe they still make them? Tangy, sweet, chewy. I could handle eating that. I wonder what’s really in it. I doubt it’s as nutritious as real pollen.
It was a bit nerve racking to pull the sticky frames out of the nuc box and place them into the hive box. Propolis everywhere gluing things together and bees, of course, buzzing around everywhere too. I kept a spray bottle with diluted sugar water handy and any time the bees got agitated, which was obvious by the change in the sound of their collective buzz, I would spray them all a little and they’d calm back down. Pretty amazing really
I slowly moved one frame at a time taking a moment to look around. There was capped honey, uncapped honey and pollen for sure. I didn’t see any eggs, but then I didn’t look that closely. It was my first time handling whole, heavy frames of honey without anyone more experienced around after all.
They trickiest part was getting all the frames nudged in close to each other. So there wouldn’t be extra space for the bees to fill with propolis. I didn’t want to squish anybody while I did it.
But really, all in all, this was so much easier and less stressful than catching a swarm. Well worth the money we spent. Oh yeah, and so much fun to watch.
Check out my swarm catching from last year and the top bar hive are here. We could see that the bees were getting settled in, because some of them were fanning their wings at the entrance to disperse the scent to the bees still outside showing them where to go.
Kate managed to catch three of them with their wings open. Click on any of her photos to check out her Flickr page for more of the bees and me in my bee suit.