These are our bees safely ensconced in their hive (with a big "whew" from the new beekeepers).
The process is actually quite easy once you get past the fact that you're dealing with 22,000 airborne stingers. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Yesterday was bee day for us. Tim Brod of Highland Honey Bees had spent the better part of a week in California, packaging honey bees in high winds. See Tim? He's been traveling cross country with about 5 million women.
The central pick up point was the parking lot at To Bee or Not To Bee, the beekeeping supply shop on West 39th Avenue. Check out the tear-drop PR trailer. The whole shop is cool like that.
There was definitely a festival atmosphere to bee day.
You'd think people were picking up new puppies, not insects.
You are now in the presence of royalty. This is a queen bank (below). In some cases, Their Royal Highnesses don't arrive intact. These are spares.
Ah, the Bee Guru. Gregg McMahan taught our Beginning Beekeeping class and he's a wealth of information about all things bees. Got a hive in your eaves...this guy's the bee buster...in a nice, environmentally friendly way.
By noon, we were in possession of two bee packages.
As you can see, Nake-id IT hived, while I documented at a safe distance.
Baby, shake them bees!
We have two hives. Getting the queen into the first hive was a bit of a do, requiring finishing nails and a drill. The queen arrives in a tiny cage that hangs from the top of the bee package (see below).
The queen is removed from the package and the little metal tab on the top of the queen cage is used to hang her from a center frame in the hive. This metal tab breaks easily.
The second queen was much easier.
This morning when we checked out bees, they were trundling out of the hive like they needed a jolt of coffee. But, now, in the late morning air, they are all a buzz.