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Monday, May 2, 2011

the saturday bee install

I will happily say that it's nice to have one less monster on the earth.

Now. On to bee business. Bees are cool, but a little scary. There are a lot of pictures in this post, many of them showing John and me standing around looking like idiots. Lo siento.
Willa greeted our bee friends, Shawn, Brian, and Gordon.
Here is Shawn making space for the bees.
The metal circle is the top of a can that has syrup in it to keep the bees alive until they're placed.
Shawn is giving the thumbs up, which I think is a good sign.
My children were unafraid of the bees.
We sprayed the bees with a thin sugar syrup, because then they start cleaning each other off and it calms them down. Calm bees are good.
Calm, submissive energy is what we want.
Shawn loosened the metal can and we upended the box.
I took out the can, and a whole big clump of bees came out with it. I told myself before we started that I was going to get stung, and I just needed to be okay with it.
The can was really hard to get out, and I was worried about smashing the bees that were hanging on it.
Once the can is out you shake the box like crazy and get all the bees down into the hive.
You have to really get after it, because they like the box.
More shaking.
But finally most of them are out, and you can set the box down on top of the hive and let the rest of them figure out that the neighborhood has gone south.
Then you can reach in and get the queen.
See how much they love and respect her? It's like there are pheromones at work.
You brush the stragglers off the queen, which takes some doing, because they are very serious about their job.
There she is. I hope she likes having babies.
You pull out the cork they send with her.
And stick a marshmallow in its place that the bees can eat away and let her out. You don't want her to get out right away, or they will kill her because of Stranger Danger.
Hang her little box between two of the bars.
Lock the bars into place.
And slide it all together, with the divider on the end. We're closing off half of the hive and concentrating them on one end for now. That way they'll focus on building comb on one end instead of spreading it all over the place.
These are the lazy/confused ones that we had to spray a few more times with the syrup so they could be shaken out. We finally got them all out.
This is the feeder we have to stick some sugar syrup into to tide the bees over until the flowers start blooming.
And here is our bee house complete and full of its new family.
John has a bee on his hat. He looks like a grizzled old farmer, doesn't he? I think it's the Ebenezer Scrooge sideburns.

And nobody got stung! Not even my kids, who were asking for it.

2 comments:

Gordon said...

What great posts about the bees! Can I copy what you wrote and paste in on my blog? Actually, I sent the link to your blog spot to my parents so they could see what we have been up to. What a cool project/experiment this has been! I can't wait for the harvest. Now we just need to save money so the kids and I can have a bee suit to watch more up close. :o)

Amy said...

Wow! I am so amazed that you are doing this. Thank you for sharing all the details. How interesting. Can't wait to hear about the home grown honey.