Yesterday was the day!
The hubby left the house at 5:30 am yesterday morning, to pick up one of his co-workers and drive west to Morehead, KY to get our bees. He was home by 11 am with a big box of what seemed like a million bees. The hum could be heard from quite a distance away. I was fascinated.
In the end, I'm glad the hubby's co-worker went with him. The hubby said there was probably 10-15 bees flying around the car on the way home. I'm not sure how I would have handled that... I thought it was funny how some bees that weren't in the box, just hitched a ride and came along for fun.
Getting our bee area ready. Our beekeeping school taught us that you should elevate your hive at least 15 inches off the ground. Why? Apparently skunks like to eat honey bees! Ouch, was all I could think. But with skunks, apparently their fur is so thick that the bees can't sting them through their fur. If you leave the hive on the ground, the skunks can just cherry-pick the bees coming in and out. However, if you raise the hive, the skunks have to get on their hind legs to reach the hive. And therein lies their weakness. Their sensitive underbellies are very much susceptible to bee stings, so when they get up on their hind legs, the bees have a chance to defend the hive. We definitely have skunks around here, so up went the hive.
We don't have a lot of flowers yet, so we are supplementing them with sugar water.
Feeder attached. Hive completed. Time to get those bees out!
The hubby helped his co-worker with his bees before he came home. He said his co-workers bees were pretty docile when they let them out. Neither him nor his co-worker got stung. So the hubby played fast and loose not putting his bee-suit on.
Letting them out...
And took one right to the face! Ouch! Yeah, that's a stinger stuck in his forehead!!
Needless to say, he left the box while he went to put his suit on :-)
Now we ready :-)
What the hubby was trying to do here was find the queen. The queen comes in a little case, separated from the worker bees. We learned the worker bees need time to become familiar with a new queen's pheromones or else they kill her. So the queen comes in a sugar-case, and it takes the worker bees 3 days to, ummm, free her. LOL. Yeah, they eat the sugar case. In that 3 days though, the worker bees are supposed to come to accept her as the queen and the hive will stay.
Here she is!
Someone was annoyed the hubby had her :-)
He hangs the queen in the hive, and then tries to empty the box of bees into the hive.
It's pretty much chaos, but the hubby got most of the bees out of the box.
It was then time to leave them alone to acclimate.
And that's the process! We'll have a better idea in 5-7 days if the worker bees accepted the queen and the hive will stay. There's a small chance they will kill her and leave, so we are crossing our fingers this does not happen. I went out to check on them first thing this morning, and they were already very active! And all over the yard :-)
I can't wait to see where this chapter takes us!
Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you all are having a lovely weekend!