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Bees Arrived

Liz arrived this morning to place the bees in their new homes.

The back of her SUV was filled with at least 15 wooden boxes, each filled with 3 pounds of bees and a Queen.  VERY COOL!

The boxes are referred to as “packages” and in each, you have the worker bees and a Queen who is held in a Queen cage that is suspended from the top by a strap to hang down inside the box. 

Why is the Queen kept in a separate cage inside the bees?

Because the queen and the worker bees are originally from different hives they separate them so that  they get use to each other’s scent.  By the time they arrived at their new homes, they are a bonded group.

The weather was a bit cool and overcast which didn’t make for great photo shots, but helps in keeping the bees calm.  The cooler the weather, the calmer the bees.  The hotter the weather, the more aggressive the bees.  Which is what a smoker does, calms them down so they don’t swarm and sting and amazingly we didn’t use the smoker once.

Here are Liz and a fellow beekeeper opening the 1st bee package.  She is removing a can of corn syrup that is provided to feed the bees through their travels.  The can was punctured with a small pin to allow the syrup to slowly drip out and feed the bees without making a gooey mess.  Removing the can leaves an opening for the bees to be removed from the box.

The white strip to the right of the syrup can is the pull tag for you to hold while you remove the Queen cage.

Yes, that is the Queen cage.  The Queen is behind the screen waiting to be released and that is some of her workers that hung on when we removed her cage from the box.

Once you have the Syrup and the  Queen cage removed you need to get all the bees into their home.  You hit the box with the bees on the ground to jar them loose.  This allows you to shake them into their home.  A bit violent but the quickest and best way to make the transfer into the hive.

That’s what 3 pounds of bees look like!

Now that the bees are in the hive Liz had to release the Queen.

The Queen cage has a cork on one end a candy plug on the other.  The candy plug allows her to eat while they are traveling.  Also, in each Queen cage are a few attendant bees to take care of her along her weary travels.

Liz removed the cork and candy plug which allows the Queen to escape and join her hive.  We had to make sure to do this inside as close to the hive as possible, to make sure the Queen made it in her new home safe and sound.

Now that everyone is home, Liz gave them a little sugar water to feed on until they are ready to head out into my yard and start collecting pollen to feed themselves.

Liz only filled 3 boxes today, leaving one empty.  She wanted to leave it empty for her next swarm she collects.  I’m hoping to tag along to see her in action!

In the next few days she will come out again to feed the hives and in one week we will open them up to see what’s been happening.

I’ll keep ya posted!

Before she left she stopped by to meet Grace and say “hello”.  It was her first time holding a chicken! 🙂

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