Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Installing Bee Packages

This noon we installed two packages of bees into our top bar hives. It was very exciting. We tried to get everything organized that we would need to accomplish the task---tools to open the packages, remove the cans of syrup and open the queen cages. We started without any protective clothing but quickly found our old mosquito netting hats for protection.

We opened the green colored hive and removed several top bars to make room to work. We carefully pried the top off the package and began gently lifting the can of sugar water out of the box.

After the sugar can is removed, we could grab the tab on the queen cage, which unforunately broke and the whole queen cage fell into the box with 10,000 bees. My brave teenaged daughter reached in and carefully rescued the queen cage.

The next step is to remove the cork covering the candy plug at the end of the queen cage. Both ends are corked, and we were supposed to remove the cork allowing the worker bees access to the candy plug. The theory is that by the time the bees have eaten the candy plug, they will have bonded appropriately with the queen and will no longer want to kill her as if she was an intruder. Unfortunately, in our ignorance we removed the wrong cork and inadvertently released the queen and her six attendants directly into the hive without protection. It all happened so quickly and my instinct was to get her quickly into the hive before we lost her entirely.

After that, it was simple. Shake those bees into the hive.

Replace the top bars. We tried to make sure there were no stragglers when we replaced the roof cover.

Then we moved on to the second hive, stained blue in the background. This installation went more smoothly now that we had one under our belts. The syrup can came out with some difficulty because the bees had begun to draw comb inside the packages and had already "glued" the can into place with propolis.

Guanshan is holding the queen cage, which is covered in bees. Cool, huh? Please notice that we didn't drop it into the package this time, nor did we uncork the wrong end. This queen cage is hanging properly between two top bars.

Shaking bees is kind of fun and very exciting.

Finally, we replaced the top bars and the roof on the blue hive and called it a day.

This is a piece of the comb that the bees had drawn inside their shipping package.

No comments:

Post a Comment