Thursday, April 15, 2010
Yesterday, we received an early phone call from our local post office. The post master wanted to let us know that he had just received 15 pounds of bees for us. You may wonder how one ships live, buzzing bees. Three pounds of drones and honey bees are put into a small screened box with a wooden frame that is a little bit bigger than a shoe box. The queen bee is encapsulated into a small box to herself and is placed in with the other bees and they are shipped to destinations throughout the United States. When we receive them we spray them with sugar water which they use for food. When the weather is perfect (no rain or wind) they can then be placed in their new hive.
The evening the bees were delivered the weather was perfect to place them in their new hive. Usually when we go to the hives the person handling the bees wears a bee suit including gloves to protect themselves and a smoker which is used on the bees to calm any aggressive behavior. To set the bees in their new hive, we were armed only with sugar water. The boxes of bees are sprayed well with the sugar water, and the box is opened and we shake the bees from the box. They basically fall onto the frames of the opened hive. Once the box is empty, they are gently brushed into the frames and the cover is replaced on the hive. Within a day they are accustomed to their new hive and work begins.
These new bees that were just placed will be checked within a few days and then about once every month to make sure all is going well. The older hives will be checked about once a month also and if all goes well with the weather, we will be harvesting honey in early to mid-June. Check with us from time to time to find out how the bees are doing and for honey recipes.