After last years terrible ending, I decided to order a package of bees to start my season off. This is the first time I have bought bees…I’ve always caught swarms to add to the apiary. With the terrible losses last year throughout the state, I was nervous the swarm scene might not be as magnificent as it was in 2017. I received my package yesterday–it was a balmy 42 degrees out. I was hoping for much warmer weather, but this coming week looks to be delightfully in the low to mid 60’s.
The post office called me at 6:30am to let me know that the bees have arrived in town. It was 32 degrees. When I got there to pick them up, the Postmaster told me he was a little worried because they were all very quiet first thing, but as the temp began to rise, so did the bee activity. It was 42 degrees when I decided to hive them.
I’ll admit I had to watch a YouTube video before trying this. (you can learn anything from YouTube!) I found that getting the sugar water out of the package was a bit difficult, but what I really failed at was the Queen herself.
As I flicked the staple out to release her cage I did so without holding on to her! Down she fell! Retrieving her was not that difficult actually, but I was worried that I would squash a few reaching for her.
In the end, the rest of the installation went smooth as can be. The cool weather might have helped a little, but I was surprised to see so many bees flying around the apiary. They seemed calm, just taking a look around. I closed up the hive, and I’ll check on them on Monday to verify the Queen has been released from her cage.
Fingers crossed and a quick prayer to Saint Valentine, who not only is the Patron Saint of love and romance but is also charged with ensuring the sweetness of honey and the protection of beekeepers.