It is the time of year when equipment is built, hives are set up, and bees are installed. On Friday, March 24, we made a trip out to our beekeeping store, and picked up two packages of Italian honeybees. By the time we got home, it was raining and cold, so we had to store the packages inside for a couple of hours. We sprayed the outside of the packages with a 1:1 sugar water mixture, to keep them calm and give them something to eat. A couple hours later, it was time to put the bees in.
Installing the packages was just about the same process as last year, but with two hives instead of one. Step one was to spray the packages once again with sugar water, this time to cover their wings and prevent too much flying. We opened the hives up and opened one package at a time, being sure to gently hold onto the queen cage. Then, we put the queen cage in our pocket to protect her from wind and to keep her warm. Four middle frames were removed from the middle of the hive to make room for the bees. We shook the package of bees into the hive, and then replaced the frames and put the queen cage in. We repeated this again, and put sugar water in a front entrance feeder to help the bees until they are able to gather their own nectar.
A couple days after the installation, we went back into the hives to quickly remove the empty queen cages. Since then, all we have been doing is observing and refilling sugar water almost daily. The next step is to check on the progression of eggs and the colonies health over all.
- We decided to paint the hives light purple this year.
- The hives are in a new location with much more sun.
- The hives are angled slightly towards each other to help the bees locate their own hive more easily.
<Taking queen cage out of new hive.