Hello Ladies!
April 27, 2015, 2:34 pm
Filed under: April 2015 | Tags: , , , ,
10,000 ladies arrive at the farm

10,000 ladies arrive at the farm

April 27, 2015

Last Friday my bee packages arrived. I of course was not ready 😮  Oh well, I dropped almost everything else and scrambled to get my new Top Bar bee hives ready. I want to try these old/new hive bodies for raising bees on the homestead. I sold or gave away most of my equipment that revolved around the traditional Langstroth style of boxes and frames. I just got tired of losing bees, maintaining equipment and storing stuff to keep wax moths out etc. I guess it was part of my trying to downsize some of my work…problem is… I miss having the bees here.

I ordered two Top Bar hives. My plan was to hive them with purchased bees. New bees, new woodware, new plan, everything should be great…right?  Wrong! I forgot to get my hives put together until I got the call saying my bees are here! Thank goodness my wife helped me prepare. She helped with assembly and she painted the beeswax on the frames. The beeswax guides the ladies where to build their comb.

Connie paints on the beeswax

Connie paints on the beeswax

We got the hives all built last Friday night. Other folks go out to dinner or a movie on Friday nights. We spent ours screwing……hive boxes together 😮 Once the were completed, all I had to do was get the bees put inside. I have handled many wild swarms, but this was my first experience with purchased bees. I give many thanks for the folks at YouTube. I spent some time watching and learning!

I placed the hives in a good location, sprayed the inside with sugar water, placed food in there and then prepared the bees for placement. On YouTube, nobody wore their bee suits…I sure as heck did. I am not afraid of the occasional sting, but I also know the kind of pandemonium that can ensue when working bees. Much better to be dressed and prepared than running like a madman for your veil.

I followed the instructions laid out in YouTube and it worked great! I twisted some grass and installed it at the hive entrance to reduce the opening size. I will remove it later, once the hive has built up and can defend itself from intruders. I dumped the bees into the hive after hanging the queen inside in her cage. The bees will remove candy cork that holds her inside. Then the work begins as the queen sets up housekeeping.

I placed the bees, installed the food then put the lid on the hives…yes, hives, I ordered two packages of bees! I waited outside the hives watching the new neighbors acclimate themselves to the neighborhood. As I left the bee yard, only about 1000 bees were in flight around the two hives. I am hoping all is well. I will check them on a sunny day next week. In the meantime they will settle down and settle in. Welcome home ladies!

Moving in day!

Moving in day!

Top Bar hives are not new. They have been used around the world for centuries. They allow the bees to draw honeycomb just as they would do in the wild. They make their bee cells the correct size for their larva, not larger ones like commercial hives do. The larger cells allow for Varoa mite infestation and other problems. Once the bees draw out comb and fill it with capped honey, all I have to do is slice it off and strain it. It is easy. It is natural and it is as good for the bees as it is for a busy farmer.

5 Comments so far
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Ralph, I give you credit. Bees are my biggest fear!

Comment by Jacklyn

They are usually docile creatures. If I smash one by accident, they get a bit angry. Once they sting you, you become sort of a target, but if you are quiet and careful things go smooth. Honey bees think of us as a big old bear as we rip into their home. Wearing light colored clothes and being gentle along with the calming effects of smoke makes all go well. I rarely get stung.

Comment by ricelandmeadows

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So, I guess you are even “bee-zier” than usual! Ha!

Comment by Aunt June

Well…that’s the “buzz”. Ouch that stings, I’m sorry honey! LOL

Comment by ricelandmeadows

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