Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Arrival of Bees

My bees finally arrived on Tuesday and BY Wednesday evening I installed them into their new home. Three pounds of beautiful Carniolans, which according to wikipedia are native to Slovenia and found in Yugoslavia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Apparently they like the temperature a bit cooler than the Italians, and so I thought they'd be a good choice for our mountain climate.

They have some other benefits as well: adjusting their worker population to the nectar flow, they can cut off brood production quickly. They're great foragers for pollen, and they seem to resist diseases and parasites a bit better than Italians. 

I think there was way more than three pounds of these busy little workers. Even my friend on the right here felt it was a lot of bees. And we couldn't get them all to come out of the box. I had to leave some there and hope they would go in the hive before dark. They were well behaved and I only got stung once, just as I was leaving and gathering up stuff. I forgot to wear my garden boots and wore my tennis shoes instead. A bee got caught between my suit and my sock right where they meet. 

{Memo to self: wear boots next time!}

To prepare for the bees, we needed to elevate the hive in some way. So we used these pipe fittings and added legs to the bottom board frame. 

Next we put each leg in an old can and added some vegetable oil. Any ants that climb up the can and into it will meet their end in oil rather than climbing up the leg and into the hive.  I removed the entrance reducer after I installed the bees, but in the winter, I'll either put it back or add a mouse guard. Before the grass starts growing up around the hive, I need to put some weed barrier and pea gravel underneath so we don't have to upset the bees a lot with weed whacking or mowing. 

I can hardly wait to get back out there and check on them! Hope they settle in and like their home and queen. Tomorrow I hope to show you how I added wax strips instead of wax foundation so they could draw their own comb. 

It's hard to believe I started preparing for these bees two years ago when I took my first class. Kind of makes me want to celebrate a little! Despite the bee sting, I'm smiling!


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