Our First Bees

The daffs are starting to bloom, there’s not speck of snow anywhere around and our bees are here.

We picked up our nucleus hive on Sunday night, not getting home until almost 10 pm.  We climbed the two hills to the pond using a flash light because I didn’t want us to fall with a carton of live bees in our hands.  My husband placed the nuc on top of the hive with the entrance facing the same direction that the entrance of the hive faces.  Then I pulled out the plug, a bunch of bees bubbled out, and I ran away.  From a safe distance my husband watched them scramble back in.

We could have waited up to a week to install the frames into the hive, but I was worried about leaving the waxed cardboard box out in the rain that we’re supposed to be getting all week.  So I waited for a break in the weather yesterday and got to work.

I had watched several youtube videos and read a few books to learn how to do this bee thing but I was not prepared for what I found when I opened the nuc.  First of all, even using the smoker, the bees were not amused.  I got chased and yes, I scurried several feet away until they calmed down. Also, there was a lot of comb connecting all the frames to each other across the top and to the cardboard along the sides.  I’ve since emailed the folks I bought it from to ask if this is normal but I haven’t heard back from them yet.  I cut through the excess comb with my pocket knife and I lifted each frame out, scared out of my mind that I was going to crush a bee or get stung by one.  I have a tool that could have helped with lifting them out but I foolishly thought it was unnecessary and left it at the house.  I was so nervous and confused and couldn’t figure out how to hold onto the frame that I didn’t even inspect them.

And then I did the terrible, no good, very bad thing.  I dropped a frame on the grass and lost a few bees.  All I can do is pray the queen wasn’t among them.  The hive is still humming. Yesterday I watched bees coming back to the hive loaded with pollen so I’m hopeful.

I’ve been feed the bees a sugar syrup and they seem to dig that.  And I haven’t been stung yet.  Part of me thinks it might be better to get it over with so I can just get used to it but my bees are too nice so far.

Tomorrow I go to pick up the new chicks!


4 thoughts on “Our First Bees

  1. Julie says:

    Good for you! I’m a little bit, um, easily freaked out by bees. Got into a nest of yellow jackets as a kid. But bees are different! (Yellow jackets are just @@$holes… pardon me.) Hurray for you!

    • Sara McDaren says:

      Yeah well, my bees aren’t being all that nice either. I have to work the hive and I think it’s too cold and they’re in a bad mood. The people I bought from are busy and aren’t returning my emails and I’m not friends with any other beekeepers.

      and yellow jackets? hate ’em. They don’t creep me out like say, cockroaches (city kid, remember?) but they are nasty. My oldest stepped on a nest last year and was smart enough to make a bee line (ha!) to the creek and jumped in and covered his head until they were gone.

      • Julie says:

        Smart boy! Wish I could help you, but I have no experience keeping bees. Maybe you can find advice on the internet???


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