The time has finally arrived. I am officially a Beekeeper.
We spent Tuesday preparing the yard for the bees. We mowed, placed a pallet in the grass and a piece of sheet steel in front of it to prevent grasses growing directly in front of the hive. This should help the bees have a clear landing strip. The last thing was to install a bear fence to protect our girls. Bears love honey as Papaw Ed is quick to remind. And we definitely have bears in the area. We haven’t seen skunk or raccoon but they also will be good to protect against. Dan and I were able to easily put up the electric fence and install the solar energizer. This fence will keep out bears and also possum, raccoon, skunk, etc. Since we will have the protection from critters, we decided we should also plant some gardens in the area. This will be the next adventure as we work around the new arrivals to put in some potato and onion beds. But first, our Girls!
We secured from Lewis Struthers two colonies of bees in deep Hive Bodies (the box in which the bees live and work), additional Hive Bodies and four Supers (shallower boxes for honey production), and a couple feeders (which we shouldn’t need now that things are blooming). We picked up the girls about 8AM which is early enough that bees had not yet started out to forage. We stuffed screen in the entry area and closed up the holes and loaded the hives into the truck. The hives were warming in the protection of the truck topper as we drove them north. We lost one in Wadena when I went out to check them and opened the truck topper to take a peek. Decided I would just leave the remaining escapees in the truck cap until we got home. We lost a few as I saw some bees that seemed to have beaten themselves to death against the windows. But, for the most part, we got them to the new location at the Harn as intact colonies.
The task of moving the hives was mine as Dan had no veil. He filmed as I cleaned the boxes to remove excess wax and propolis (a resinous material that bees use to stuff cracks and crevices). We stored the extra boxes under wood to help keep them intact against invaders. When the bees seem to be filling the original hive boxes, we will add a second “Deep” (deeper Hive Body) for additional brood (bee babies). Once they are filling that, we will add Supers where we hope the bees will store lots of honey for us.
There is so much to learn but I feel like I am gaining a good understanding. I am learning a whole new language and will really begin the adventure when I start opening up the hives to check the health of the bees. I hope to have a local friend and beekeeper to guide me through the first time. But I also get that sometimes you just have to forge ahead and figure it out on your own. So I will be looking forward to lots of new fun with insects.
Video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/UQX1PHdiNtI