15 May 2014

Installing our First Bees into the Beehive

It's hard to believe that it has been 3 years since we began this journey to get to this day. I have to say that I fought this adventure and hoping Bug would not be serious and that it would just go away. Always hoping it would just be a passing stage with her obsession. Then around year and half into this journey of our life - I let go and let God lead. I had peace about my daughter being a beekeeper. I had peace and realized I was no longer afraid of bees. At that point I knew that this could be her future. I don't know if it's for a season or a life time. I will let God lead us.

On May 14, 2014 we headed out to pick up our Italian bees. I wasn't sure what to expect when we got to the location.
I wasn't expecting this type of a container!  I was expecting a wooden crate with the queen in a small cage and a can of sugar water inside the cage. Not a nuc with frames and a queen that is already free. Which actually a nuc isn't a bad for starting out. My first thought was the boxes have holes in them how am I ever going to get them home. Duh, I let my fear take over. They wouldn't send me off with a box of bees with an open hole in a vehicle. They put a napkin and tape over the box and put it in my van for me.
 See the hole is secured and they can't get out. At least I hope not! I'm told it has around 10,000 bees in that box or 3 pounds of bees.
 It's right next to my son who is not liking the whole bee adventure. Then one of the first thing out of his mouth is, "Mom don't get into an accident that wouldn't be good with a bunch of angry bees in a closed up van". Nice thought! Leave it to my son to let his imagination run wild. All the while Bug is as happy as can be. She has a permanent smile on her face from ear to ear. On the way home I just remembered that I have never watched a YouTube video on installing a nuc! Oh no! What am I going to do now.

 I never watched the video as I calmed down and remembered what I read about installing a nuc. Little Man was suppose to make a video on the install. He liked the comfort of being on top of the fort. He got scared when I opened the hole up and well lets just say a lot of them came out rather quickly.
 Mom took control of the camera. First I removed five frames from our beehive.Some of the bees actually started going into the beehive which we lightly sprayed the frames with sugar water.
 Bug sprayed the bees with sugar water to keep them from flying everywhere.
 I think the bees have had enough of sugar water. Hello it's time to stop for now. She thought it was fun spraying the bees.
 Now figuring out where to put the hive tool to lift up the frame without smashing a bunch of the girls. I had Bug grab the bee brush and brush them to the side while I lifted the frames. She tried but had a hard time getting the frame out of the cardboard box. It was a little tricky grabbing them in the box.
 Bug added a bee pollen patty after we got two frames into our hive box. Then we had to start spraying again because I let a frame slip out of my hands and go back into the nuc. Little Man ran inside.
 All five frames are inside the beehive. I had Bug push the frames together. We couldn't find the queen. I figured at this point it's better to get the frames in as the bees aren't leaving their new home and going back to the nuc.
 We checked the nuc over several times making sure that we didn't see the queen. Then I had Bug give the nuc box a big thud and make the bees drop to the bottom of the box. Then she dumped them into the hive box. She did this a few times. It just happened that Little Man got up the courage to come outside again. So we had angry bees flying around the yard. A few landed on him and freaked him out. No stings, just legs crawling on him. End of story he ran inside in tears.
 She wasn't crying but one happy little girl. A day she will never forgot. A very joyous occasion for my Bug.
 Some of the bees where going back into the nuc. I checked again for any sign of the queen and felt confident she wasn't in the nuc. I left the box opened for several hours to let them vacant the box.
 Then we just marveled at God's creation. What amazing creatures to watch.
 A girl and her bees.
 We watched as they explored the yard and hive. They found the sugar water and started drinking immediatly.
 We watched them march right into the hive.
 And we watched!
 Then Bug declared, "that she is an official beekeeper." "Oh and by the way mommy your an official beekeeper also." So it's official we are official beekeepers!
 I had Bug spray the bees water containers with a little sugar water to train them to go to this watering hole instead of the neighbors watering holes. It worked.
After a few hours the bees where calming down and still exploring the backyard. The dogs high tailed it inside with Little Man and didn't want to come out anytime soon on such a lovely day. I didn't find any stingers on them. It was quite a lot of action going on in the yard for several hours. The sound was pretty obvious with all the buzzing going on.

The install went smoothly without any problems. We made it through our first install. Now we have one more hive that needs bees in it. We will see if our swarm catching works out on that end.


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