bringing the bees home

Today was the day of bees.  Having just arrived from B.C., auntie C and girl child went to pick their bees from the drop off point and participate in a 'how to install your bees' demonstration.  I came along as documentarian and possible bee trauma recovery personnel for the girl or her auntie, who were both feeling a bit nervous, albeit for different reasons.  It turns out, though, I should not have bothered with worrying about girl child freaking out.  She took to bees like a duck to water.  Or like a bee to nectar?  

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Bees all packed up and ready to go at the pick up spot

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A peek in the bee box

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Swarm of beekeepers watching the demo

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Getting aggressive, I was able to elbow my way in to actually get a look at a bee or two

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Beekeeper Master cutting out a comb to place in the new bee box - not the kind of box we were going to have to populate with bees, though.  Ours just require transferring of the the frames into a new hive box.

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Yum, hunny

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Girl child loves bees

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Chicken! A dozen or so of very well kept chickens kept me entertained while the bee people learned their trade

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Demo box emptied of three frames, with just one remaining

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Finally, bees and beekeepers are ready to head home

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Back at auntie's place - time to get serious

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My little girl, smoking the bees before the move

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Oh, the power!

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Opening the box

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Yup, them's bees alright

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Somewhere in here is a queen bee that needs to be found

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Each frame is removed and inspected for the queen as well as to check on eggs, larvae and bee health sort of things

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Can you spot the queen?

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Lifting a frame

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Checking it out

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Placing it in the new hive box

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With the frames all in, girl child is squirting some sugar water into the new hive box to give it a homey smell

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Bees all tucked in their new home

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Bee break - I hear a frame full of comb and bees is quite heavy

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Still have to transfer the stragglers from the travel box and put together the hive box

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Brushing bees with a flick, not a roll

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Auntie's dog, remembering when he used to be the favorite pet

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Box together and a sugar drink for the bees to help them recover from their move and encourage them to feel welcome in their new home

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Auntie and girl child checking out a bit of comb that had to be scraped from the edge of a frame and tasting some royal jelly

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This, if you are wondering, is how royal jelly tastes

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Girl child resting after a busy afternoon in her Marceline hat

Bees, it turns out, are kind of fun.  I hope the hive has settled down since I last seen them, especially since a rain shower moved in only an hour or two later.  It's funny how having a single bee buzz around one's head causes one to have a bit of a wobbler, swatting and running away, but a few hundred bees buzzing makes one feel almost calm.  Girl child felt quite bulletproof inside her bee keeping gear and while I tried to keep about six to eight feet away during the transfer, I really felt no danger.  There were times when I walked right up to the hive with hundreds of bees flying about without a worry.

The next step for girl child is to start getting comfortable enough to forgo some of the protection as she helps with weekly bee health checks.  Today I saw people handle the bee frames quite calmly without any sort of protection, so I know it is quite possible.  Which brings me to the question I'm sure at least a couple people have been wondering: was anybody stung?

No.  Nicest bees in the world.  Would have them over for tea anytime. 

Any beekeepers among the readers here?


In case you were wondering:

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  1. Ah! Which one was the queen? LOL, I have no idea and it will bug me forever that I don't know which one was the queen!

  2. Susan, check out the end of the post - answer is there :)

  3. This was so fun to read! I've been interested in raising bees for a while now, and hope to see you write more about this in the future!

  4. My husband and I just started keeping bees about a month ago, and we love them!

    I'm honestly amazed at how NOT terrified I am, and at how much calmer I've also gotten around bumble and carpenter bees. Yesterday, my brother-in-law was over, so I lent him my gear to wear for the hive inspection while I stood just two feet away in a t-shirt and jeans, bees buzzing all around me, calm as could be.

    If you'd known me before, your jaw would drop to the floor at that; I'm generally a big baby when it comes to insects and arachnids. I love my girls, though!

    Tuns out we have to re-queen, so that's stressing me out. Last week, everything looked good, and then yesterday we found a ton of larvae, but no eggs, so our queen is either failing or died. Picking up a new lady tonight.

    Keep posting about the bees; I love hearing others' stories!

  5. We've been keeping bees for about a year now, and my children (11, 8, and 5) are all very involved in the process. My 8 year old got his own hive this year, and he is thrilled with the responsibility. Its been a great experience for all of us, without too many traumatic stings, and the honey is the best I've ever tasted!