Bee Syndicate S2 E8 04/23/2016 Welcome Bees or Bee Drive-Trough
(Sorry guys my phone died so I will update with more pics from my actual day soon.)
After months of blogging, hours upon hours of research, stacks of books, a long list of movies and YouTube videos Bee-Day 2016 finally arrived. The day when I was no longer limited to the experience of working and observing other people's bees. Bee-Day finally coalesced after twice counting down to the delivery date. I had felt like a little kid counting down the days until Christmas or until the last day of school. You may have seen a previous post or tweets that I made detailing how Bee-Day was delayed due to poor weather conditions. But finally on Saturday I woke early in the morning to the usual cat punches to my face and demands for cans of shredded unidentifiable meat. The label informed me that the cat’s breakfast would be a delectable Roast Beef in Au Jus. “Sure it is cat food company you just keep telling yourself that.” Don't get me wrong the cats love that shit, but you are never going to convince me that the contents of that can was Roast Beef in Au Jus. Listen cat food maker people you don't have to market the cat food to me. I’m not eating it, and my cats don't care. Just call the cat food “ Shredded Giblets in Giblet Juice” My cats will love it all the same and I won't feel like you're lying to me. After feeding the cats I cleaned out the trunk of the CRV and made sure that I had a nice space to place the nuc boxes that would transport my bees hopped in the driver seat set the GPS and headed on down the road to the place that I would finally get my bees.
About 45 minutes later I turned the CRV down the driveway of the picturesque Dundee farm (by far the most well manicured farm I have ever seen.) A place that appeared to be well more suited for weddings and barmitzvahs than actual farm work. (at least the parts that I saw) Following the signs for Bee-Pickup my excitement and anticipation rose. Then I saw the huge stack of nucs several people in bee suits and thousands of bees filling the air. I was finally getting my bees! I rolled down my window and the beekeeper asked my name. I gave it to him then popped the trunk and got out of the car and and grabbed my bee suit from the back seat. Before I could get my suit on The guy was like “there you go have a nice day.” and it was clear that our interaction together was basically complete. I got back in the car and after a few words of advice from the beekeeper who loaded my bees was ushered off down the road.
I have to say I was quite underwhelmed. I was not expecting that. I had envisioned beekeepers showing up and parking in a field and a bunch of beekeepers getting a chance to mingle even if just for little while. Instead I got a late night bee drive-through experience. I have to say I felt a bit disappointed with the whole experience. But no matter, any feeling of disappointment was soon overcome by the realization that I was cruising down the highway with 100 000 bees in the car. I’m sure glad I did not get rear ended. Although a highway accident that released a fury of furry flying bugs sure to terrify you average highway goer probably would have dominated the local evening news and made for one hell of a blog post, but it also would have made it exceedingly difficult to re-hive my bees in a timely manner.
Arriving home I opened the back hatch of the car, and I just listened to the two humming boxes in front of me and humm began to resonate inside of me. “OK bees” I thought “We are in this together now. I will try not to kill you please don't try to kill me or harass the neighbors and let's save the world a little bit.” I carried the nucs to my back patio and then broke down my waiting Langstroth hives to just the bottom boards and first deep and added three frames with foundation on the left side of the deep and two on the right.
I walked over to the waiting nucs and realized that they were in wood nucs not cardboard as they were advertised as. “Noice buddy” free wood ware! Wood nucs will be great for next spring if I need to split a hive or capture a swarm Now I will have a place to put the bees. The nucs were looking a little rough but I will deal with that later. I fired up the smoker and cracked the first nuc and I began slowly transferring the 5 frames from the nuc to their new permanent home being sure to make sure that the frames remained in the same order facing the same direction that they were in the nuc. This is so that the bees are disturbed as little as possible. I don't know that the bees could have been much more disturbed they were after all in the last few days crammed into small boxes re-queened and then loaded onto a trailer then lugged from Florida to Pittsburgh. Bees filled the air at the time I thought they were pretty pissed off but maybe they were just happy to be able to get out of the box and stretch.
After closing up the first hive and adding the Sugar feeders in the second deep I gave the bees about 20 min to settle in before starting on the second nuc. As soon as i was ready to go on to the second hive I cracked. open the second nuc and I immediately could tell that this group of bees was different than the first. They were buzzing louder, there were more of them, and they seemed more aggressive. When I started to move the first frame a dozen or so beez shot out of the nuc and smacked into my veil. It was clear that the first have was going to contain the ladies and that the second was going to be the box of bitches. I was amazed at the obvious difference in personality. I didn't expect that.
I was sucessfully able to transfer all the bees into the new hives and load the girls up with sugar syrup to get them started. I then checked on them every few hours and it was something to see a energetic tornado of thousands of bees right in my backyard They were pretty riled up for most of the rest of the day but didn't care that I was watching them from close by for short periods of time. They let me know when I started to make them uncomfortable by buzzing my head top gun style, and occasionally flying into my chest but not stinging me. That was my signal to leave for a while and come back later.
The next day when I came home from work at around 9:00 am I found the bees happily leaving and returning to the hive carrying large loads of pollen going about business as normal as if the hive had been in that location undisturbed for a long time. The bees were focused on the day’s work and the area that yesterday had been filled with thousands of bees buzzing through the air was only a pathway for those going to and from the hive.
quick video of the girls here
Now we wait… 1 week before the first hive inspection to make sure everything is going as it should. “Great more waiting.”