New life for an old hive

I’ve been so busy (as a bee) lately, that it’s taken me a while to post about the recolonization of BnB1.  After the old colony died, I cleaned it up, put a new bottom on it and added the folk are panel of St. Florian that I picked up in Slovenia.

St. Florian on BnB1

Slovenian folk art of St. Florian on BnB1 with the new package of bees waiting to go in.

The new package of bees came from California and were supposed to arrive on Saturday, April 25th.  However, they got here a day early, so I took the day off to help hand out the packages and take my new girls home.

We got a new video camera for Christmas to film yoga and bee videos.  Neither of us has mastered this technology, as you can see in the video below. It’s like a Laurel and Hardy routine – “Is this turned on?”

The first year I installed a package of bees, I was dressed in a full bee suit.  Last year, I had a long sleeved shirt.  This year, I went for the short sleeved shirt.  Next year, I’m thinking of going shirtless, ala Putin:

Putin the beek.

Putin the beek.

(my image editing skills suck).  The other day, when I was releasing Sarah’s queen from her cage, I had to stick my hand down in the hive to pop her out of her cage (I didn’t use the marshmallow like in this hive so had to manually release her).  It was a new experience for me having my hand completely covered with bees – hoping none of them would sting me.  They didn’t, thankfully, and I’m getting more comfortable not using gloves.  The gloves don’t allow me to feel what the bees are doing.  This time of year, they are more docile, so there’s less of a chance of getting stung.  And most times when I do get stung, it’s because of my stupidity.

I went back in a few days later to make sure the queen was released.  They had built some comb around the queen cage which I had to cut out.  I was looking for the queen on that comb, but didn’t see her.  Then as I was putting the comb back in the hive, I saw her dart off that comb and run back into the hive.  Fortunately, I had the comb over the hive or else she could have darted off out of the hive and gotten stepped on. I checked again this past week and the queen seems to be doing well – there was capped brood and they are building comb.

Since the installation, the weather hasn’t been the greatest.  I gave the new bees some sugar water so they could build up quickly, but also some old comb with honey.  They seem to prefer that, especially the first few days when they could go out and forage as well.  However, it’s been pretty cool and rainy the last week and they haven’t been able to fly to forage for pollen and nectar as much.  The past few days, they haven’t been able to fly because of the rain and they won’t break cluster to get to the sugar water.  Hopefully they have stored enough nectar in the combs they built, plus still have some honey in the old frames.  I predicted last month that soon after installation, we’d get snow and sure enough, we’re expecting some tonight.  We won’t get much snow, but the cold temperatures will be a bit stressful for the colony.

It’s been great seeing the new life in BnB1.  The bees seem to like their new hive and their guardian St. Florian. BnB2 is chock full of bees – I really need to split that, but they haven’t populated the queen cells yet.  Plus, I haven’t finished the new hive yet because of the rain.  I think I can get by for another week without them swarming.

 

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4 Responses to New life for an old hive

  1. Julie says:

    Putin is rocking that look! When I saw that, I laughed so hard I horked my beer. Ha!

    Gorgeous painted panel! St. Florian looks handsome and comfortable in his new digs.

    Sorry about your cold rainy weather, but it’s probably a lucky thing to have when installing packages since the bees have to stay indoors. They look good! Maybe you could split anyway — put the queen, some brood and stores in a nuc, and let the bees back in the hive raise an emergency queen.

    Anyway, so glad to see how well they are all doing!

    • Don says:

      Happy Mother’s Day, Julie! I hope your family takes good care of you today. My wife just got back from a fun trip to Japan last night, so I’m pampering her.

      I’m thinking about requeening with a local queen rather than letting them make an emergency queen. One thing I don’t like about this queen/workers is that they seem to be intent on making bees, but not very much honey. I’m not in it for the honey for me, but I want them to build up enough stores for winter. Although, since they made it through the winter with what little they made last year, maybe they know what they are doing. I have to wait for the weather to improve before I can split – we got 2″ of snow overnight.

      • Julie says:

        Thanks for the wishes! We had a wonderful day visiting the Litchfield daffodils, picking up some plants, and working in the garden. Just perfect!

        Glad to hear that you are having a good day with the missus! Even if it did snow.

        Snow! Land sakes! That is some freaky weather you’re having! At least you’re getting some moisture, I guess. Still, crossing my fingers for you that you’ll see some good weather soon so you can do your splits!

  2. Pingback: Spring Has Sprung | Buddha And The Bees

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