Bee Day Part 2, 2019: The Bees Are Home

bee dayIt has been quite a day. The kids are back to school after April vacation, the garden is requiring our attention, we've plans for some landscaping projects and materials are coming in. All that, and the first package of our bees have arrived. Bee day was a success, at least in our limited experience.

Now, we didn't just go drop some money and try to figure all of this out on the spot. We have been studying for months, talking with other bee keepers, reading the literature, watching the YouTube videos. Everything we could do to get ready. And when the time came? It was all about confidence. I couldn't be prouder of us. Well, almost all of us. Bailey decided that honey bees tasted good so she pronounced around in her doggie way snatching up strays for snack.



Bee Day 2019

bee day
We decided to buy our bees the old fashioned way, from an apiculturist in Hudson NH named B-Line Apiaries. We had ordered the packages back in November, and were of course waiting patiently for the day to arrive. This afternoon I pocked top the girls and we made the one hour trip with a pitstop on the way. (More about that later.)

When we arrived, there were quite a few other folks ahead of us, and we had a chance to poke our noses about and check out the operation. I must say, I was impressed. They run a family business just like us, and had their stuff in order. After checking in at the folding table desk in the garage, we were given our pick up confirmation slip. Then, we headed out to the truck where we collected 10,000 Italian honey bees and their queen, who as of this post has not been named.

We picked up some pollen packs, got back in the truck, and headed home for the install.

Installing the Bee Package

bee dayWe had decided a while back that this was all about confidence. Maybe we heard that from other beekeepers, but telling ourselves it was our decision made it easier to follow. With the hive prepared, we pried open the syrup can that fed them during their trip, pulled out the queen box and started shaking. The bees spilled out as if they were stuck together, and after a short while we got them all in the hive.

We decided to go with pre-waxed frames. In between these, I placed the queen cage after poking a little into the fondant plug to encourage her helpers to get her free.  We are feeding a 1:1 mix of sugar syrup to help them build up, so once the lid went on, so did the filled mason jar. A pollen patty went on top of the frames as well.

Bees Everywhere

bee day
It's true. Confidence won the day. Now, Italian honey bees are supposed to be docile to an extent, and our bee day transfer proved that point. Not a single sting that we know of, though I cannot imagine Bailey walked away without a couple the way she was behaving. What dog snaps honey bees from mid-air for a snack?

The plan is to let the bees drain the syrup before we open up to check on the queen. If she was already pregnant, as she should have been, we might even see some eggs. At the least we will see how well the bees are doing building out their comb. And you can bet we'll share that when we see it.

The clover is sprouting, the tress are budding and the forsythia around us is in full bloom. I think our new Italian colony is going to like it here. In late May, we're getting our Carniolans and can't wait!

We love sharing our homesteading life with you all, and truly enjoy it when you join the conversation below. Do you have bees? How did your bee day go? And just be sure to subscribe before you do anything else for more yummy homesteading goodness!




bee day

bee day

bee day

bee day


Comments

Cheryl said…
Interesting to see how you settle them in and also that the Italian bees are docile. Surprised to see you not wearing bee suits. Can you get away without them for the set up or do you not need them? I've been researching and talking bees for years. Seems I just need to pick up some confidence before I take the final step to bee keeping. #GoingGreen
WT Abernathy said…
Hi Cheryl:) They really are quite calm- I've learned that they will give warning if you are in their space with some buzzing close to the head, so I'll step away for a minute and let them know I'm not a threat. I also heard that bees have a four day memory span, and if you simply remind them everyday or so that you're not a threat, they're pretty cool. As for not wearing a bee suit, not yet. But then, I haven't gone in to check the comb yet, and I think I'll be wearing at least a hood for that. And it is about confidence, moving calmly and maybe even talking to them when working.
Cheers!
Lisa Lynn said…
My Grandfather was a beekeeper and I remember having all the honey we could possibly want. My cousin followed along in his footsteps until his hives were wiped out my those naughty little mites. I have always been interested in having my own bees...but never took the plunge. Thanks for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!
Wow - no suits! Looks like you are doing really well with the bees and I hope you get a brilliant honey harvest. 💚 #GoingGreen
WT Abernathy said…
Trying to connect as much as possible with our bees, and not wearing a bulky suit is part of it. I'll wear the hood when checking the hive for now, but until it becomes an issue, it's bare hands and confidence that I'm focusing on.
No signs of vary yet, but we do have some treatment strips ready if they do show up-
Cheers!