The Queen Bee and
Beginning Our Bee Keeping Adventure
Yesterday we picked up our very first bees for the hive. This is a joint venture between my friend, Hannah and I and the hive is actually sitting on her property. The spot is just beautiful, in a clearing, and settled under some sort of flowering tree. There is nearby water and grass, and other blooming plants. I am positive that the Queen bee and bees will be very happy and healthy here.
This is very exciting times because I had to wait an extra year due to the high demand for bees after a couple brutal winters. We chose a local apiary and started with a Nuc instead of a package, so the bees came in a cardboard hive sort of box. The nuc means that the bees have already been established as a family and have been working together. It takes a little bit of the risk of losing the hive away, but Nucs do cost a bit more than a package.
I thought I should be nervous driving the car with that many bees in it, since I get such a huge reaction to any stings, but strangely, I was calm and Hannah and I chatted the whole way home, and didn’t hear the bees at all. I am sure they were sleepy since the day had just begun. Yes, all my sleep loving friends, you have to pick them up at the crack of dawn so they can start the day in their new hive. Coffee was definitely needed!
The Bees New Home (Hive)
We were back home before 7:30 am and ready to release the bees. I was the designated photographer, due to lack of an epi pen or any benydryl, and the fact that Hannah has the only bee suit. I need to remedy this right away so I can check on the hive too.
Placing the frames into the hive looked like an easy task. And Hannah easily picked out the queen due to her white crown (actually a paint marking) The queen bee is the most important member of the hive. Without her, the hive would have no purpose and slowly die off. The worker bees and the drones work and live to please the queen bee. She alone lays all of the eggs to continue growing the hive and producing honey, although she herself produces none of the honey. The queen bee is fed the best nectar and the royal jelly. This is nothing at all like most of the human moms I know. They are selfless, and giving, taking their share last. But just on Mother’s Day, wouldn’t it be sweet as honey to be treated like the Queen Bee?
Soon all the frames were safely in the hive and any stragglers were moving in that direction. The flower pots were moved into position next to the hive. Just to make the bees feel welcome.
Making the Hive a Home
Water was set out nearby the hive. Although there is water not too far from the hive, giving the bees water right there allows them to spend more time establishing the hive and making honey. Bees will actually forage for food and water up to two miles from the hive but it seems like a good idea to give them what they need close to home, at least until they get oriented. Even though we did a lot of reading and research before heading into bee keeping, there is still much to learn.
And that was it! Day one of beekeeping concluded successfully.
We are looking forward to the fresh raw honey later this year. The bees had already produced some in the travel Nuc and there was a lot of comb being built on the frames.
We would love to hear your best bee keeping tips in the comments. Thanks for being part of our journey on Timber Creek Farm.
Looking for more resources on Bee Keeping? Earth and Honey recently published a wonderful collection of informative articles.
And also visit Lil’ Suburban Homestead to listen to an informative podcast on beekeeping.
Pasture Deficit Disorder talks about harvesting honey from a top bar hive in this post.