Friday, April 30, 2010

Bee Installation and Inspection

Hey Frank! Thanks for this photo! Beautiful!
Frame making was a bit tedious, but the company was good. This is Jan, doing her part, so we can install the foundation in the frames. The frames are the part of the hive that hang down that the bees actually build the comb onto. Foundation is a sheet of wax stamped in a honeycomb pattern that we install in slots in the frame. It was kind of fragile, but smelled really good.
This is Nora sliding the foundation into the slots.
The framemakers and bee keepers, yours truly on the left.
Now we're ready to pick up our queens! This was a chilly Saturday morning about three weeks ago. Each box holds a queen and about a thousand of her new best friends and minions.
The queen is segregated into her own little chamber, sealed in with a candy plug. The plug is meant to be breached, but in the meantime, the drones and workers have a chance to get to know her and each other.
Nora escorts our two boxes to the truck. They are surprisingly heavy.
We got the bees home and they stayed in their boxes in Jan's basement for a few days for further bonding. This is Jan on Installation Day. We've got the hives open and several frames removed so we can dump the boxes rather unceremoniously into the hive. The queen box is rubberbanded to one of the frames. The bees will eat through the candy plug and the queen will be free to move about the hive and hopefully get busy with Queen Bee business.
John, on the left, is very worried about a possible allergy to bee stings. Epi-pens have been installed in prominent locations. He didn't seem too worried here.
The boxes are opened. Frank (in all white) is a patient teacher.
That's me, pretty in pink, getting ready to load this box into the hive.
One down, one to go.
The bees look like they're finding their way around just fine.
Here's John again, clearly not worried about standing too close and unprotected.
The Feeding Box goes back on top. The frame boxes you see on the ground will go back into Jan's garage until the bees have filled up the first box, maybe in a month or so.
We put the boxes on the ground in front of the hives so that the last bees that didnt' get shaken out can make their way out and into the hive.
Thanks Frank! Now we can take off the gear and watch the bees settle in.
So far so good. Home sweet home.
Next up, our second inspection in which see if the queens are making brood (laying eggs), the workers are making honey, and that all's well in Dinwiddie St. bee world. My friend two streets over says he's seeing honeybees in his Hawthorne tree, which he's never seen before. It will be interesting to see if we can track reports of increased flowering and fruiting in the 'hood. Stop back by for further progress reports!


house things said...

Well, this is an exciting step. You had to make the frames yourselves? Tools and such were used?

Tell me more about your plans for the honey, and whatnot, once things get into high gear.

Kathy said...

We're not going to harvest honey this year, to give the bees a chance to establish themselves. When we do harvest, we won't be able to sell the honey (commercial inspections and all that), but it will make nice gifts if we decide we have too much to consume ourselves. Nora has big plans for beeswax products, such as soap, candles, etc. Her brother the designer is working on a label design for us.