Monday, May 04, 2015



I haven't posted on this site in seven years. I enjoy going back and reading all the posts about Gail being on dialysis and then getting her transplant. It's been a great seven years.

I'm going to start posting again because I have been inspired by Tom Sherwood and his posting about bees. Since I just got my beehives set up, I'm going to do the same.

I decided to go with top bar hives because the square Langstroth hives are so heavy. Plus they are theoretically better for the bees. You get less honey production, but I'm not in it for the honey anyway.

I ordered my beehives from Bee Thinking in Portland, and they are beautiful! They are Western cedar and I put tung oil on them to preserve them a little.

I used a wood burner to put a Lone Star on one hive and two ravens on the other. I love them.

Gail and I picked up two bee packages at Mountain Feed and Seed at 7:30 in the morning on May 1, 2015. We were the first in line (not a surprise)!

 We let the bees stay in their packages for a while. Tizi was interested but not alarmed. 

 Tom came over on Saturday to help me install the package. It was interesting and I felt pretty good about handling them. There is so much I don't know, but I try to be deliberate and think about what I am doing. I was immensely proud of myself for feeling comfortable enough to eschew gloves while installing them. 

When I opened the package, it looked like this:
Box O' Bees!

I dumped them in the hives and the bees started moving in and out of their entrances. 

I was very happy. 

I checked them that night through the windows. Lone Star looked great. The bees were all in a nice globular swarm around the hanging queen cage. 

Raven was another story. There were two loose clumps hanging down and bunch of bees on the bottom. First thing Sunday morning I checked, and I was right. The queen cage had fallen to the bottom. I sent Gail and Michelle on the church and suited up to go back into the hive. It was a LOT harder to maneuver in the hive when it was full of bees!It was early in the morning and they were all in there and all sleeping and didn't particularly like getting awakened. But if her cage had fallen face down, they wouldn't have been able to feed her, so it was essential that I get her back up. 

I found her cage and I think it was face down, but it was hard to tell because they were all over it. She was moving around in there, so I think she was no worse for wear. I hung the cage back up and secured it with a thumbtack and some blue painters tape. I did wear gloves for this activity since I was messing with the queen and they might be protective of her. The gloves are nice and thick but really clumsy. 

I checked the other hive to be sure the queen was still suspended and it looked fine. 

I was really nervous that the hive would be unhappy about being disturbed so soon after their arrival in their new home. This morning (Monday), I checked and Raven has a lovely globe of bees hanging from the queen cage. So I think all is well. 

They had both eaten about half of the jar of sugar syrup, so I gave them the rest of the syrup in the can from their package. 

At this point, Day 3, I think everything is ok. I need more rope or a mop head or something to give them something to land on in their water bucket, and I will put vegetable oil in their saucers soon. But other than that, I think we are good. 



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