Monday, April 18, 2016

In the Bee-ginning, There Was the Pun, and the Pun Was Bad

So I got bees and there seem to BEE an endless supply of bad bee/honey/hive puns out there.  I've shamefully produced too many myself, now that I'm the BEE-yatch in charge of 2 hives.

Bees and equipment provided by a grant to a local group!  Yeay!  They also paid for our training which makes this a fairly thrifty endeavor.  And no, you can't have any honey!  That is the first thing TOOOOO many people have said when I mentioned I was getting bees..."Can I have honey."  No, I don't have any and the first year's production is for the bees and if they die, there won't be any anyway so let's let that go for a bit, shall we?

Best pun so far was a young friend who came up with "Beesus loves the little children."

Here is a little photo essay on the bee package and the un-bee-oxing.

The package:

 That's what the bees and a queen arrive in.  3lbs of bees.  The can in the middle is the sugar syrup they have fed off of on the trip.  The tile is what I'm going to cover the can-hole with as I get the queen out.

Here she is.  Inside the screen box.  you can't see her well but I didn't want to dick around any more.

She's got a white dot on her back and is twice the size of the others so easy to spot.  The white dot indicates a 2016 queen.  There is a color rotation so you can keep track of which queens survive the longest.  A couple of years is supposed to be pretty good, but like all old ladies, the eggs dry up and it's time for the next generation.

Hive box at the ready

Hive box with feeder (black thing...feed them sugar syrup while they acclimate and until there is enough food out and about in the world), a few frames for comb, and a gap to set the box of bees in.  More frames go there probably tonight because I can't not check on them so I'll feed them and check and take out the package.

Here is the package in there:

The little metal thingy on the middle frame is where the queen cage is hanging.  You take out a cork in the bottom of here cage, replace it with a minimarshmallow.  The worker bees will eat through there and by then will have accepted her as the queen.  She didn't birth them so need to acclimate.  I took the tile off to let the bees least I hope to god I did!  Crap, now I want to go check.  Anyway, you SHOULD uncover the hole and let the bees out.  Then put the various components of the top on.

Here's another hive

I installed the bees here by pouring them in.  The brush is to get them off surfaces and not crush them with reassembly of the hive box.  I put the frames from that gap back in.  We'll see which one does better.

 Here it is with the frames in:

The package with remaining bees (they don't really all want to come out so fast) sitting in front next to my hive tool.  Used for prying things and pounding things as needed.

Close-up of the bees:

And some bee diarrhea on the rubber tub I had all my stuff in:

Like many of us, bees get a bit of diarrhea in the spring, what with the diet change and not wanting to poo too much in the house all winter or however long they've been in there.  There were yellow stripes all over the place including the bottom of my jeans.  Funny.

 And finally, my great grandfather with his bees in 1920:


Angela Gulick said...

Loved this, Jill. Myself, I am scared of bees so these pictures kind of grivveled me out. But still very exciting for you. I was sitting beneath my glorious flowering crab apple tree yesterday, enjoying the blossoms and the fragrance and the cool spring breeze. And THEN I realized that tree was just teeming with bees. Kind of unnerving. I should have sent their little bee butts packing to Idaho!

Keep us informed how everything goes. This is really interesting.

Jill said...

Thanks! And those bees were making delicious honey from your crab. I had the same experience at my friends' house the other day. Standing on their porch admiring their cherry tree which is in full flower...and then the hum...very cool. TONS of bees working away.