Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bees Bees Bees In The Dale

Early this morning Kirk Anderson of Backwards Beekeepers delivered bees to The Dale.
He brought two nuc's, one had a queen and the other one did not. This day started with overcast skies and I did not expect him that early but I was up watching my favorite English Soccer Team, Fulham so early was not bad. (TiVo saved the game as we went to work and Fulham won!! A fine day indeed.).
I thought the bees would sleep in on overcast days but these are feral bees and were already active when Kirk picked them up at 5:30AM.
We, mainly Kirk, were quickly at work. I handed tools etc and took pictures when I could. You will note some of them are out of focus or poorly framed, it is hard to take shots with the big bee gloves on.

I got initiated very early. I have my fine Brushy Mtn bee suit along with the pants but I had my socks with slides for foot wear. One bee got annoyed and decided to nail me on the foot. The good news is I did not swell up or anything and it was not painful. I am one with my bees now.

First things first, light the smoker.

Then the bees got a calming puff.

Next Kirk checked the nuc without the queen.

Ooops, these have been busy bees and added an extra comb on the lid of the nuc, an excuse for another lesson on cutting down comb would come later on.

Transferring the Queen frames to the hive.

The dark frames are from the queen-less nuc. They are large frames and I have medium hive boxes. Kirk created a California Spit-level Hive. Some frames are in the lower box but the last three are left out. The large frames are put into the top box and extend down into that space.

Frames from the Queen nuc show some capped brood cells.

Another inspection of the nuc lid comb before relocating it.

The comb is cut loose from the lid.

It is cut to size and secured in the frame with cotton string. Cotton is better than rayon string, the bees get rid of it easier. Rubber bands would be even better but we had cotton string.

Some of the bees are still hanging in the nuc looking for the queen.

They get uncermoniously dumped on the top of the frames. The darker frame is where the longer frames are located.

Adding some more from the other nuc.

After a coffee break most of the bees have slipped down into the hive.

Voila, and now we have Bees In The Dale.

There is a small fence around the bottom to keep the dogs away from the bees. One came inside on my bee suit and Betty dispatched it quicklly. She has a thing about creatures in her air space that includes all blimps, helicopter, air planes and birds.

This was a very good morning and Kirk was very generous and shared his knowledge with me. I might have tried to install the bees by myself but no telling what would have happened when I saw that comb attached to the lid and a split level hive would never have occurred to me. Since there is good honey in the frames we installed the bees will not need to be fed..much easier than dogs.

I have a vintage trailer event next week so the bees will have plenty of time to adjust while I am gone.
What a great day it is in The Dale.


patricia said...

Woo hoo! Congratulations on the bees in the dale. Long live the queen!

About that split-level: won't the bees build extra comb in the space below the deeper frames which hang from up above? Just a thought from someone who has already learned her lesson about leaving extra space in a hive.

We saw our queen on Mother's Day! How perfect, since she's an uber-mother. We named her Queen Bee-atrice. And the bees are making beautiful comb from the pieces we waxed on. Some are two-thirds filled out already. There are a few photos on flickr.

Dennis In The Dale said...

Eventually the deep frames will have to be moved anyway. If there is more comb below it I will cut it out and tie it to a new med frame unless it is harvested.. I will be looking at it when I get back next week.
What are you going to do when Queen Bee-atrice gets deposed by her citizens?