Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sharing my Knowledge

Melissa, as I have previously mentioned, made the trip with me down to Brushy Mountain Bee Farm to pick up bees. This year is her first year in beekeeping. Although I had read 3 books on the subject attended meetings with the Richmond Beekeepers, watch a video of an installation, as well as witnessed a live installation demonstration, I still remember my feelings of doubt as I first touched a package of bees. What made it easier for me when I arrived home was that I had the support of my wife to assist me in the new venture. Melissa’s husband fully supports her new venture, he however has a very real fear of bees. Knowing this I decided to be available for her during her installation just in case those feelings of doubt surfaced. I only offered a couple of words, but she didn't need my help at all. Her confidence during installation shows she will be a successful beekeeper. Here are a few pictures of Melissa with her new hive on Day 1.

Misting down the package with sugar water, this not only makes the bees sticky and temporarily makes them unable to fly. Having 10-12,000 bees this isn't perfect odds to get every one, but it allows you to be able to deal with a couple hundred instead of a couple thousand.

Removing the shipping lid, under this is where the travel feeder is as well as the cage containing the queen. Both are removed before the introduction happens.

“The Dump” The moment when the majority of the bees with quickly learn where their new home is. Imagine if almost all of those bees weren't sticky with sugar water. The queen cage had been transferred to the frame in the very middle right below where the mass of bees are being dumped.

Last, here is her new hive ready to go. The package was placed in front of the hive to allow any ones that were left behind the ability to quickly find their way to the hive entrance as soon as the hive sets up some scenter who will use their pheromones to send out a signal to any lost bee in the area the way back yo the hive. As you see, right now the hive only has one level so that it controls the growth of the hive to fill the brood box before adding a second. Having one level also makes it easier for it to defend itself against pests as well as maintain the correct temperature. In this area of Virginia our average last frost date is still a couple of weeks away so being able to cluster on those colder nights is very important to the well being of this new hive.

To read what Melissa had to say about the installation go visit her here.

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