The weather begins to give us a glimmer into warmer days, a tease that we may actually be through this winter. Truly that just means that as a suburban homesteader, my days are about to get long to get everything done to start outside planting.
This spring is even more tumultuous than previous years as we are in the middle of our greenhouse project (wet, cold weather has severely delayed the project), and I have begun building aquaponics tanks for other enthusiasts. Both of these projects are keeping me hopping (16 hours yesterday), but on the bright side, I beginning to lose that excess winter weight very quickly!
As harried as yesterday was, I took great delight in installing our new bee colonies in their new permanent home in our backyard. In my last bee post, I told of our problems last year and how we lost the colony. I am very optimistic this year that we will have 2 strong colonies survive next winter.
Instead of package bees, like last year, I went ahead and spent a little more to buy “nuc’s”. Nuc’s are 5 frame units full of bees born from the queen in the nuc. Since these bee’s are all “brothers and sisters”, they are already well adept at working together. They will only need to adapt to their new home in my hives.
I opened my hives, pulled out 5 empty frames and replaced them with
the filled frames from the nuc’s. The bees were so busy they never even really took the time to notice they were moving into new digs! At least the first nuc didn’t notice, the second one was a little more observant and not happy about the change.
In working with bees, I have never “suited up” except for a pair of gloves, since I have to grab full-of-bee frames. These bee’s decided I should be taught a lesson, maybe they thought I was a little cocky for not wearing protection, but……….Having longer hair and a full beard is not good when you upset a bee colony.
Ok lesson learned, I will at least wear my head gear with the gloves, since 6 or 7 bees gave their lives to teach me to bee humble. This encounter may discourage many. Anytime one learns a new task, there is always a learning curve and sometimes mistakes are made. Mistakes are always painful, but become a necessary tool in the learning shed.
Oh well, I finished installing the new colonies, filled and installed the feeders, and closed up the hives for the night. I sat the boxes in front of each hive since there were still many bees in them. They will make their way to the hive soon, since they are working for the queen that bore them.
Well the journey has begun, again. I am hopeful that we have better results this season than we did last year.