Today was the day! Bee day!
A little background... My sister, Kristin, and I decided to get some bees – two hives, living on our property. Kristin is in it for the honey. We get the added benefit of bees pollinating our fruit trees and garden. We built our hives a few weeks ago, and today the bees arrived!
You guys, this was one of the coolest things I've ever done! Let me walk you through the afternoon. We picked up our bees in Watertown, from Dadant & Sons. It was an entire barn full of bees. Here's what a pallet of bees looks like:
And here's Jess, with his package of bees. We carpooled with Jess, and since he did this last year, we stuck around and watched him install his bees before attempting it ourselves. It was great to be able to watch a successful installation to build our confidence.
Here's a "package of bees." Each 3lb package holds about 10,000 bees. We got two packages, one for each hive. The can in the middle is filled with sugar syrup to feed the bees and that tiny tab of metal on top is connected to the queen cage.
This is the empty hive, with a few frames removed so we can install the bees.
First, we removed the queen cage from the package.
There she is! The queen cage has a cork on the end to hold the queen in. We took out the cork and put a marshmallow in the end. This holds her in until her bees eat the marshmallow and release her.
Next, the queen was placed between two frames.
Then, we poured (literally poured!) the bees into the hive.
We replaced the remaining frames.
And gave each hive a jar of sugar syrup to eat.
Done! Our bees are installed! Now we give them some time to settle in and release their queens. A whole afternoon of bees and only one sting. (Sorry, Kristin. I hope it's the first and the last!)
Here they are, our sister-hives. That's Beezus on the left and Ramona on the right.