Last Saturday the bees arrived! Mom was jazzed, Dad was mesmerized, and I was very excited because although I am seldom successful at catching them, I relish the thought of chasing and snapping at flying things. I must say the preparations for our new family members was intense; it seems all I experienced for three weeks up to their arrival was Mom taking classes, putting together hives, painting, and reading and studying videos. I thought, hmmmm these arrivals must be very special VIPs!
So here comes the skinny on what happens after the hives are set up and ready for their new guests. Simply:
OR, in other words: A package of bees comes in a wooden box with screens on two sides, a queen bee in a cage separated from the rest of the bees and a can of simple sugar. The queen cage is removed from the package and is secured to one of the frames in the hive and the wooden box with the bees is put into the hive. The can of simple sugar is removed from the top of the package leaving an escape hole for the bees to leave the package and get into the hive. The top cover of the hive which has a small rectangular opening is then placed on the hive. After making small holes in the can of simple sugar, it is placed upside down on the rectangular opening on the top cover so the bees can feast on the drops of syrup. The next day the can will be empty and since the bees need 4 – 6 weeks of food, another type of feeder is introduced into the hive at this time.
The queen comes with the packaged bees already fertilized for life and is able to lay thousands of fertilized eggs for 2 to 4 years. She is separated from the bees in the package so the bees can get used to her scent and for that very same reason she is not immediately released into the hive with the rest of the bees. Her release is achieved over a few days: At one end of the queen cage there is a small opening fitted with a cork which is removed and replaced by a tiny marshmallow. In about 2 days, the bees will eat through the marshmallow and free the queen. Hopefully by this time the bees have accepted her as the Queen Bee and they can get down to business!
Three days later Mom visits the hive, takes out the empty wooden package, removes the empty queen cage from the frame, and adds more frames to the hive (there are 8 frames in the super (box) when it is filled). The hive is now buttoned up for a few weeks when we will open it up and inspect the frames for evidence that the queen is present and laying eggs.
WHEW!!! That about says it all, for now that is!
“I wanted to name one of the Queen Bees Debbie but then I realized that it had already been taken”. – Tom Engel
We had a very fun “bee blessing” when the neighborhood showed up to welcome the girls! I had the best time with my BFF Gracie, but I am effectively banned from any more activity at the hive since I tend to be naughty and chase the bees. I can observe from afar so you can be sure that you will hear more on the subject! Love, Honey