Saturday, May 16, 2009

BeeKeeping 101

Bees and Honey and all things Sweet...May 3rd, we got our bees! We had ordered a "nuc" colony, which contains 5 frames of bees, brood, stores of honey and pollen and most importantly a queen...

Beekeeping lesson is safer than you think to travel in an enclosed vehicle with a box of approximately 10,500 bees! We chose to take the "back" way home from where we had to pick up the bees. This is a wonderful drive up a dirt logging highway, through some of the most awesome country, in this part of the world. We had to stop and pickup Kiah at the house of a friend, who is a wood fire potter. This all made for about 2 hours of drive time mostly on bumpy, narrow logging roads. Indeed our favorite kind of Sunday drive. Only 3 or 4 bees escaped from their closed box, and they stayed pretty close to the buzz and smell of the nuc box. The bees in the nuc were itchin' to get out of that box sounded like rain in there! We brought them home, took them up to the bee yard and opened the door on the box so thet could get out. They flew rather frantic like for several minutes them re-entered the nuc and settled for the evening.

Bees are Awesome! Pictured here is some of the equipment used to house a colony of bees...Deep super, wax frames, sugar water, pail for feeding , an inner cover and top cover.

Monday afternoon, when it warmed up, we put them in their new hive body, being careful to keep them in the same order, to keep them from being disoriented. We added five new frames, for a total of 10, so they should have a bit more room. In this photo, one frame is in the new box or "super", and the second frame is being removed from the nuc. This frame contained the queen (always a happy thing to find your queen).

This is a smoker. Milo and Mojo experimented and found that the stuff that comes with the smoker smells kinda bad. Then they proceeded to try different birch bark with pine needles, pinecones, sawdust, and found the best stuff to use was wood shavings from the workshop...cherry wood shavings.

We didn't use the smoker...but we had it ready just in case. To distract the bees, we sprayed the bees with sugar water and they spent a whole lot of time licking the yummy, sweet water off their bodies. They didn't mind us being there a bit. Apparently, the smoke causes the bees to panic and so they immediately go grab their stores of honey. Spraying with sugar water is a much gentler way to distract...we shall see what Autumn brings, the bees tend to get a little more aggressive and protective toward their honey stores in the Fall.

Kiahzzzz entry (age 8):

"Bees are so fun. I love to watch them. I know they will not hurt me as long as I'm calm."

Milozzzz entry (age 5):

"My best thing about the bees are watching them getting pollen. I love the bees' fort. Bees knees. The End."


mrsbeccijo said...

That was great! Wishing you and the hive much luck and lots of flowers!!!

BirchLeaf Designs said...

Thank you!

mrsbeccijo said...

See I loved it so much I read it again and came to make a comment only to find my face looking at me!! lol