Friday, May 1, 2015

New Bees

Time for the new bee season to start.   Since all my bees died during the winter, we're starting new again this year.   I installed two packages on April 27.    We got them from Kelley Bee.  [Note:  When they give you a date, that's the ship date, not the arrival date, contrary to what they say in the literature they send.]

Eric suited up, but I didn't.   Package bees aren't defending anything, so they're really docile.   It's great to have one person suited up just in case, but I really like working the bees with minimal protection, so I just wore what I had on. 

Here I am dumping the bees in the first hive.    Lots of bees flying around.   One landed on my ear and another on my nose, then wandered over to my eye.   Neither stung,  though I admit I was thinking, 'Dang.  That's really gonna hurt.'   [I did get pinged once later on the thumb.  No biggie.]

I had a good plan going in and had drawn a pic of the stacks and had a list of what we needed to do.    Lily took the pictures, kept notes and read off the directions.  Eric lifted stuff, handed me tools and brushed that one bee off my face.

We had a lot of frames with comb from the deadouts, so I used all of those frames for these packages.   I put an empty frame in the center and hung the queen cage there.   [There just wasn't enough room to stick her between two drawn frames.  We tried.]

When I checked the queens three days later, both hives had drawn quite a bit of new comb in that frame.   I'll definitely do that again.  

I made a couple of changes in the setups this year.   I changed over to solid bottom boards.   We'll add slatted racks just above those when the weather gets hot.  Then I put the deep for the brood, then a 2" shim [the green one] that I use to give me a bit of extra space for dry sugar.    I had saved all of the sugar/candy board from the deadouts, put it in the freezer for the rest of the winter, and fed it to the packages [after defrosting].  I had a gallon of sugar and honey that I split between the new hives.

Then I put on the inner cover [entrance up] with a medium above that so I can feed syrup from jars later.   I put the telescoping cover over that. 

You can see how the hives look in this shot.   The new hives have the empty packages in front of them.  

The remaining hives will get nucs in a couple of weeks.  We'll put one nuc in the long box on the table, and the other nuc in the center deep hive.  

I have one more space for a hive in the row and I think I'll save that for extra supers.   If I keep a bottom board and top cover on the stack, that'll keep moths and vermin out and the supers will be handy for later. 

The bees seem happy with their new homes and are bringing in the pollen.   I checked the queens after three days.   I released one, but the other was so close to being released by the bees, I decided to let them finish.   I'll check them on Sunday to make sure the queens are laying. 


  1. Nice! Congrats and good luck with your bees this year!

    1. Thanks Mark! Here's hoping this year is better for us all than the last few have been.

  2. I'm so exicted for you, and what beautiful, colorful looking hives!

    1. Thanks, Christopher! When I started with the bees, I went to the store and bought cans of yellow, magenta, blue and white paint. Every time I paint a piece of woodenware, I choose a color or mix one. I have to say, I love those bright green ones the most - but only because they look so great with the other bright colors.


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