Home | About | Products | Blog

First Package Arrived and Hived! (Long, as usual)


#1

Well, we’ve received and hived our first package today! This morning I was fixing breakfast before going to work and the dogs started barking. I looked out and saw the mail carrier’s Jeep coming up the drive. She was as excited as we were! She’d made a special trip out to deliver the package before going back to the post office to load up for her regular deliveries.

This package is from Gold Star Honeybees, raised on small-cell and treatment-free. It was cool this morning when delivered so they were a bit subdued. Not a lot of dead bees, either. I showed them to my wife and put them down in the basement on top of the freezer to wait until I got home.

I managed to get home a little bit early.  We were excited. I wired a piece of brood comb bought from GSH to a bar I’d brought in previously. We gathered up our things for the walk out to the hive. I brought the bees up from the basement and set them down in the family room. Several of our cats came to have a look but didn’t get too close. We put our tools and stuff (feeder and jars, notebook, etcetera) in a box (we really need to get a good plastic box to keep this stuff in) and walked on out. The temperature was about 67 and cloudy.

At the hive we loosened up the strap we have holding it down and opened the lid. We took out some bars and moved the follower board over a bit to accommodate the feeder. I placed the bar with the brood in place and we started to get down to the hiving process—but first I took a photo of Rhonda with the package.

I opted to let Rhonda do most of the hiving as she probably won’t be here this weekend when I’m expecting to pick up our second package. She started to go at the cover when I remembered we hadn’t done anything to distract the bees. She’d wanted to go with spraying the bees with syrup and I’d wanted to brush the screen, but I’d forgotten to bring out a container of syrup whereas she’d brought the sprayer. Unfortunately, she found that the sprayer had clogged and wouldn’t spray anything but a stream. I went back to the garage and got out a new paint brush. I poured syrup from the spray bottle onto the brush and started painting the screens. The hum of the bees dropped quite a bit! Once they were calmed down a bit we pulled the syrup can out, and then the queen cage.

We looked into the queen cage and Rhonda noted that the queen was fine, but all but one of her attendants were dead—and one of those was imbedded in the candy. We’d been going back and forth on doing a direct release or hanging the queen from a bar (I wanted the direct release, but said that if we hung it from a bar it should be in front of the comb we put in.) Well, with things being the way they were in the cage we opted for a direct release.

Rhonda bumped the package a couple of times to get the bees down on the bottom, then started shaking them into the hive. Once she had most of them out I tried to pull the end cork from the cage, but it slipped inside instead. It went to one side. I held the cage down in the hive and the queen came out and disappeared into the mass of bees. I dropped the cage in so the remaining attendant could get out and to have as much of the queen’s scent in the hive as possible. That done, we gently placed the remaining top bars into place. Bees were flying all around us. We closed the lid, and looked into the hive from the observation window. We couldn’t see much other than a bunch of bees, so that was that. We went around the front of the hive and Rhonda placed the package on the ground below the entrance. We then stood back and watched, grinning at each other from time to time.

The bees that were outside the hive started landing around the entrance, with some going on in. Eventually there were quite a few gathered there. From time to time a bee poked her head out of the entrance, but for the most part they were going on in. There was a nice, steady buzz coming from the hive. Nothing that sounded overly excited, just a nice buzz. We took a few pictures, walked away from the hive a bit and brushed of the few bees that were staying with us, and watched as one of our dogs snapped at bees in the air. She’s always snapped at flying things, including bumblebees, but this time I think she got one. I don’t think she liked it.

One key thing that you might have noticed here was a complete lack of mention of a smoker! Nothing about problems getting it lit, nothing about using one at all. That’s because we completely forgot about it! We never felt a need for it during the entire process. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have had it handy or that we’re against using a smoker—we’d simply forgotten.

So there it is… our first package has been hived. We’re excited and looking forward to seeing how they get on in their new digs!

Cheers,

Tom


#2

Addendum:

I went out about an hour after the hiving and stood nearby, watching and listening. My wife went out later and did the same, commenting on how it’s almost mesmerizing to watch.

I went out later to say goodnight to the bees and found that most were in the hive. I took a look in through the observation window and saw that they were nicely clustered around the brood comb we’d hung from a bar. They seem to be content in their new home!

When I went out and stood there the first time after the hiving I had a funny feeling inside–something telling me that our lives had just taken a turn on the road of life, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the bees take us.

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. Thought I’d add some photos:

RhondawithGoldStarHoneybeespackage.jpg

Tomnexttohive.jpg

BeesintheHive.jpg

BeesatEntranceofHive.jpg


#3

As you might expect, I went out to check on the activity around the hive as soon as I got home from work this evening. There didn’t seem to be a lot of activity around the hive; some bees buzzing around the entrance, a few coming and going. I went around the back of the hive and opened the observation window because, you know, I just couldn’t resist peeking in! :D

Inside I found that both feed bottles were down by about a third (and with fairly equal levels, too.) Even better, an inverted shark-fin shaped comb extending down at least six inches! Woohoo! I tried to take a photo, but one thing that hadn’t occurred to us when getting ready to hive the package was to dust the inside of the window after the hive had sat out there empty for a month or so. Here’s a poor photo, but the best I have for now. The comb can be seen just beyond the flashlight in the photo:

Hive1Day1.jpg

Lovely!

Here’s another lousy photo.

Hive1Day12.jpg

One down side to having observation windows in the side of a Kenyan TBH: you have to get down lower than the window to see up into it. Not so easy for some of us! :lol: But worth the effort.

Cheers,

Tom


#4

awesome ;)

i get my bees this friday and install as well.

pics will follow!!!


#5

Checked on the bees when I arrived at home. They’ve taken more syrup, but not near what they took the first day—must be out foraging already. It looks like they’ve got at least four bars of comb going; saw festooning on the nearest one. Very cool! Tomorrow I plan on opening up the hive above the feeder and removing the queen cage and giving the inside of the window a wipe to clear up my view inside.

Well, after I typed the last sentence I went back out to the hive with the idea of opening up a bar above the feeder and lower the camera lens part of my iPhone into the hive and take a couple of pictures. I went out and raised the lid, and then did as planned. The bees weren’t bothered in the least. I moved over and opened up three bars, then slowly reached in and removed the queen cage, which had several bees on it and at least one inside. I saw bees coming out from under the feeder so I know they were still using it. I took a number of photos, and noticed a comb about 4 inches long and maybe up to 2 inches wide in a stretched oval shape on the floor of the hive. It had some bees on it. I slowly reached in and lifted it out. In the meantime, bees are coming up and flying out from time to time. I did make an effort to try to attach it to one of the bars, but gave it up as probably not worth the effort as it probably wouldn’t stay on so I brought it into the house with me.

I did take out my handkerchief and wiped the inside of the window.

I may be foolhardy, or be over confident, but I did all this without any gear on—no jacket, gloves, or veil. I simply keep my moves measured, listened to the bees (who were really very quiet) and kept calm even when I felt a bee in my hair. When I could, I bent down and pulled some long grass and brushed the bee out of my hair. (It’s not very long or thick these days.)

Yes, I will be wearing the jacket and veil when I opt to lift out the bars with combs on them

For hive notes, this started around 8 PM, temperature 75 degrees, partly cloudy.

Photos!

null-6.jpg

null-5.jpg

I just realized that they’ve removed all the dead bees that dropped in with them when they were dumped into the hive! There aren’t any dead bees on the floor of the hive.

null-1.jpg

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. If anyone else here is on Beesource.com, yes, the posts here and there are identical. I write up my posts in Word and copy and paste.