Friday, September 19, 2014

Busy as a Beehive

We decided to move the hives this fall.   They had been up on a grassy hill a few hundred feet away from the house, at the foot of another even taller hill.    It was a good place for them, but kind of inconvenient for hauling tools, etc up to them.

When we got rid of the big blue pool at the end of the garden, I realized that we had a lovely graveled area around which I could put a black- and raspberry patch and in the middle of which I could put the hives.   Much closer to the house.

We can mow all the way around it and there is a tall picnic table right there, too.  Perfect for holding extra boxes and a nice place to put the notebook when we're doing inspections and taking notes.  I decided to face the hives east with the table in front as a wind break that would force the bees up a bit out of the traffic area at the foot of the garden.    Works like a charm.   I can stand behind or next to the table and be out of their flight path, even when there's a lot of orientation going on. 

How did we move the hives?   It was easier than we feared.  We had read that it was no big deal, but we suited up all the way, including gloves [which I never wear even for inspections] I took the top blue boxes off, since they were mostly there to hide the feeders, and we ratchet strapped the hives from bottom to top around the sides.   I stuffed a little rag into the openings and duct taped it down.   We looked for other openings and taped those over, too.   Then Eric got on one side and I got on the other and we lifted the hive into a wheel barrow.   I walked along the side and held on to the strap and top in case of an accidental tip and we moved the hive down the hill, over the creek, and up the hill to the new site.   Then we repeated the process for the other hive.   

The suits were overkill.   We moved the bees at dusk and they totally ignored us.   No big deal at all.   After we moved them and got everything settled, I took the tape off the entrances and put bottom boards in for a 24 hour mite check.   It was warm that night and then it rained hard the next day.  The day after that, there were bees orienting everywhere and Lily and I did a full fall inspection.    Details on that later. 

We put the bees on that resin decking material so we could slide them together for the winter.  The base is small enough that it will be easy to wrap for the cold weather.   Hopefully the gravel will help keep things warmer during the cold months and both hives will survive the winter.  

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