Saturday, May 11, 2013

Southern Girls

I''m back in the beekeeping suit again, but my blogging habits are needing a tune up.  Also, as I was installing  these bees, on Patriots' Day here in MA, terrible things were happening in Boston.  I came in after finishing to find worried phone messages because we had thought of going to the marathon and Patriot Day activities around town. The bees kept me home that day. The bees were delayed one week due to colder weather, and I had to be home that day to get them.   I just had no interest in immediately blogging that week.  Once I put something off, it seems like old news, but a few people have been asking about my bees, so I should get it down.  Grateful again to my bees.
Here are the new Italian bees straight up from Georgia with the help of the ever so nice NewHampshire Bees again.  It was great to hear and feel the buzzing again.  I picked them up in Gilsum, NH and drove the hour home with the happy sound.  It was hard to resist stopping on the same road to look at some Serama chickens that were for sale. Tiniest things ever. . . Later.
So, here is how it goes with new package bees:

"We've been in here for a couple of days now, Lady.  Let us loose already!"

I removed three frames from my 8-frame hive body.

They are clustered around the feeder can and the queen cage. (or so I thought. . .)

My Blue Man look.  Still don't quite like the feel of too many bees, and the sticky, sticky.   I pried off the wooden
cover revealing the can of sugar syrup and one flat bee.  The metal tab on top of the can is connected to the queen cage

Holding on with my left hand to the tab of the little cage holding the queen, I pulled out the feeder.

After setting the queen safely aside, I shake the bees into the space between frames.  That's a good Buzz.

The queen is in this little box.  She has been kept safe in there from all the workers who did not know her at first.

There is a sugar plug in the end that the workers are supposed to eat out to release her.  Over the top is a small cork that needs to be removed to allow the workers access to that candy plug.  She is upside down, so you can't see the red spot.

With the queen in and most of the bees dumped, I put the package where the stragglers could make their way home.

Lots of fanning at the entry tells me that they know their queen is inside.  I did not know that they had TWO queens in there.  One marked queen (beautiful red painted dot on her back) from out of her little cage AND another stowaway.  The second queen was shaken into the midst of all the bees down in Georgia and travelled amongst the girls getting to know them for a couple of days before the boxed queen was released.  She was by that fact their chosen leader. When I checked this hive 5 days later, I saw an unmarked queen and no red-marked queen anywhere.  They done her in.
But, wait. . . .there's more about queens next post.

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