Yesterday I traveled to the Walter T. Kelley Bee Company, which is about an hour away from the farmette. I had two packages of bees to pick up for the season.This is a bit late for bees to be arriving, but due to our rains this spring, pick up had been rescheduled by the company.
Here I have my suit, the two packages, marshmallows (more on that later), and to the right, two different types of hive feeders.
This is the box of Italian Bees. This time I have both Italian and Russian Bees. They both have different qualities, so it will be interesting to see how they do this season.
After I open the box, I take the queen out of the package. She is the long figure in this queen cage. She is in there with some candy fondant (white substance at the bottom), and her attendants. As her primary role in the hive is to lay eggs, her attendant bees take care of her needs. There is a cork on the top of this tiny box that you can see. I pop off this cork and replace it with a marshmallow. The bees will eat away the marshmallow and accept the queen into their hive.
The package of bees actually gets dumped into the awaiting hive. More frames will be added to this hive as the bees create comb on the frames.
While I dumped the package of bees, I sat the queen down and you can see that she created a lot of interest right away.
Here is the queen cage in the hive, with the marshmallow in place of the cork.
In less than a minute, the other bees were taking notice of their new queen.
Here are the two hives in their new location. My third hive (robins egg blue) will be moved to this new location today. The bee packages will sit outside of the hive entrance and allow any remaining bees to make their way into the hive.
The purple hive has a hive top feeder in use. Sugar water is in a tray and will feed the bees until more flowers are available for them to feed from. The pink hive has a jar feeder system in place under its lid. Same reason, just a different system.
Is your brain on overload yet?