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Chicken Scratch Poultry

Friday, April 18, 2014

Adventures in Bee Keeping - Part 2

Last week I shared with you that we are embarking on a new adventure with apiculture.  Well Wednesday evening Larry and I drove to Paducah Kentucky to The Bee Barn and picked up our two packages of bees.  The whole process was exciting and frighting, since we really didn't know what to expect.
    The folks at The Bee Barn have restored this beautiful old barn to keep all their bee supplies in.  I didn't get to go through the barn but would love too.  Maybe next time.

This is the Apiary or bee yard at The Bee Barn, with nucs set up ready for customers to come pick them up.  A Nuc is a small established hive.  Larry and I did not purchase a Nuc we purchased two packages of bees.  This will be a screened box of bees weighing approximately three pounds, with a queen in a small separate box.  For some reason since we would be crossing state lines we were not allowed to purchase a Nuc.  
The bee packages had just arrived from Georgia in the back end of this vehicle.  We were told to pick out the two packages we would like to have.  That was a little scary since there was a few escapees.   We loaded the 2 boxes in the back seat of our truck and hoped for the best.  Larry is allergic to bees and we were traveling with no epipen, nothing like living on the edge.  It was dark by the time we got them loaded up and back on the road.  We never heard so much as even a buzz from the bees the whole way home.  We left them in the truck over night and hoped that there was no malfunction in the boxes over night. 

The next morning we were ready to introduce the bees to their new home.  We were both a bit on edge and not sure what to expect.  To begin we removed the top of the box and pulled the can of syrup out of the box.  Before you do this part you need to give the box a good bump on one corner to knock all the bees to the bottom of the box and then pull the can out.

Once you have the can of syrup out you will see the queen hanging in her little box, her box is hanging by that piece of tape.
Packed in with the queen are three or four nurse bees.  Each end of this little box has a small whole in it.  One end has a cork in it and the other end has a piece of candy.  The bees will eat the candy and release the queen.  If the queen is not released in three days we are to let her out and hope that the colony loves her.
 The next step is to place the queen between two frames.

Next start shaking in bees like crazy and hope they don't come out mad as hornets! 

They hit the bottom of the box and just stayed there, so far so good.  No attacking swarm of killer bees that I had pictured in my mind.  They just sat there all nice and calm.  We sprayed them with a little sugar water and closed up the box.

Later that evening we noticed that the bees were hard at work and as we watched we figured out what it was that they are doing.   Their first task was to get rid of the dead.  They carried them out one by one and deposited them on the ground.

The bee team checking out the bees the next morning.  No stings, just happy bees eating sugar water so far.  
Have a Blessed Easter!

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