Today was beautiful. It has been the nicest day of the year so far without question and a reminder of why we live in the Northwest, the beauty. The sunny weather came at a perfect time as well, the day I picked up five new packages of Italian Bees!
Once received, the bees must be “installed” into their new homes. You are able to choose different package weights based upon how many worker bees you want. I have only gotten 3 lb. packages of bees (it’s the weight of about 3,000 worker bees plus a queen). These Italian bees finished up their pollination of the Almond trees in California and then they ship them all over to beekeepers for the summer. The Queen is reared separately and then placed with a number of worker bees so they pick up on her pheromones and start a colony together. The power of scent!
Luckily, I don’t have to travel far to obtain my bees as I have a Supplier just down the road in Snohomish, The Beez Neez Apiary Supply.
As you could imagine, I drove EXTRA carefully. It probably would have ruined my whole day if anyone rear-ended me.
I had to set up everything before I could open up the packages. I needed a Bottom Board, a “Deep” or “Brooding box”, an Inner Cover, a Top Cover, Frames, and some kind of Feeder (I use top feeders as they have worked and are easy to manage). None of these things are expensive by themselves, but they all add up very quickly.
Believe it or not, but I actually didn’t even plan to have the interchangeable colored boxes…
Each Package has a can of sugar water and a small box where the queen is kept. The bees have been confined to this space for several days to once again bond to their queen.
I cover the expose Hole so the worker bees don’t leave. The Queen in the box is removed, the cork is removed and a marshmallow is placed in the hole to keep the queen within the hive for a couple of days. Once the bees eat through the marshmallow, the Queen can start laying eggs and ruling over her colony.
In about three days I will open the hive up to inspect and make sure the queen has been released, and also to remove the “Queen’s Quarters”.
I didn’t even get stung! Sandra, who was photographing, unfortunately got hit about four times. I saw her literally rolling on the ground, but really couldn’t help because One must remain calm when handling bees. Poor gal, it didn’t help she was wearing a bright Yellow tank-top.
A huge thank you to Sandra! For putting up with me and my painful interests! You got some great shots!
I think everyone should keep bees… They’re all the Buzz…