Thursday, May 1, 2014

Honeybees!

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

I’ve been wanting bees since last year. I used to confuse bees, wasps, and hornets, but then I read a few books and became hooked. They are amazing creatures. I tried to get them last year, but I was too slow. I didn’t realize you need to order them in Dec/Jan instead of April. I was ready this time.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

I ordered the bees from a local supplier in southern Minnesota at the beginning of the year. The just shipped them this past Monday via USPS. I was excited and scared when the post office called yesterday and left me a voicemail, “Mr. Luhman, your bees are here. Please come pick them up by 6pm.” *gulp*

Bees in the Sidecar

I rode over after work and picked them up from a post office warehouse. The box was smaller than I expected. I ordered three pounds. It easily fit into my sidecar. I took them home and let them rest in my dinning room for the night. It was very strange to eat dinner with thousands of bees safely buzzing a few feet away. My friend and I liked it.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

I didn’t hive them the first night since it was too cold and rainy. The next day promised to be better. It was misty and slightly cold. Too cold for the bees to fly (below 50), and they also don’t fly in the wet.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

I put the queen cage in first. I left the stopper and will remove it tomorrow. I wanted to give the bees another day to get used to their queen since they were probably first paired up on Monday when they shipped.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

Queen in her cage

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

Queen cage installed in hive

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

Once the queen was safely inside, I bonked the box on the ground a few times to loosen the mass of bees.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

Then I poured them into the hive in a big lump. It was a strange sight. I’ve seen it many times on youtube, but it was still weird to pour them out.

 Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

I put some sugar water into the hive as well. There is still nothing blooming yet since it has been so cold and wet. I will very likely have to replace it tomorrow morning. With the hive buttoned up, and the new cover in place. I went back into the garage. A few bees were stuck on my bee suit. They were cold and wet and couldn’t fly away.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

So far, I think it was a successful bee day. I only squished a couple by mistake (newbie mistake) and I didn’t get stung. I’m VERY excited to learn from the bees. I bought them to learn from, pollinate my garden, and try to raise a healthy colony. If I get honey, ok, but it is not the main reason I am interested in them.

Hiving Honey Bees in Top Bar Hive

If you want to learn more about bees:

1) Watch “More Than Honey” a great documentary. The subtitles on netflix streaming are goofed, so get the disc or watch somewhere else.

2) Read: “The Thinking Beekeeper”

3) Watch: “OutOfABlueSky” or “GoldStarHoneyBees” YouTube