Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'll name you Beatrice, you're Beulah, and you can be Bea... I'm gonna need more 'B' names...

(c) 2013 Ms. Huis Herself at

 We've been thinking about doing this for a while and Mr. Kluges finally talked me into it last September.  We ordered our equipment, put it together, and today, picked up the final and most necessary component to our new endeavor...

That'd be a box full of bees, folks!
We are now beekeepers!  

Mr. Kluges and the girls watched from the back roof/balcony while I installed them into their hive.  To start we got a "nuc," which is basically 4 frames out of the middle of a hive.  They should have an active/laying queen and a bunch of her daughter bees along with eggs/pupa/larvae in various stages, and honey and pollen, too.  All I had to do was carefully remove them from the cardboard box they're in and put them into their prepared permanent home.  I looked for the queen, but didn't see her, which isn't too unusual considering my lack of experience. :)  I'm not too worried (well, not too worried), but I'll look again in a few days and see if I can find her then, or at least eggs, which would mean she's there & doing fine.

Here are some photos of the process.

This is the nuc of bees riding home in the trunk of the car.

After I took the first frame out of the nuc, I showed it to my 3 observers. There are bees everywhere on that thing!
Taking a look at a frame of bees to see if I can spot the queen, observing the capped brood, looking for eggs, etc.
Adding 3 new frames to each side of the hive for the bees to fill with pollen and honey for themselves.

Putting on the inner cover.
Since they're just getting established, I put an empty box on top of the inner cover, then a container of sugar-water for the bees to help feed them until they get going finding nectar sources.
Finally I put on the outer cover and a big ol' rock.  The empty nuc box was placed in front of the opening so the couple of dozen bees still in it could find their way out in their own time.

I retrieved the camera from Mr. Kluges while I was still geared up and took a few pictures.  This circled bee is sticking her rear in the air and giving off the homing pheromone, to help the other bees find the opening and realize that this is now home.

I've already been out to look at the hive quite a few times today because it's just so dang cool.  I even saw a bee returning to the hive with the pollen baskets on her legs packed full of bright yellow pollen (dandelion?) less than an hour after I'd installed them.  The bees seem to have settled in fine, but I'm looking forward to continued observations.  Yay for honey bees!


ShoNuff said...

Sounds fun. I hope the honey becomes plentiful.

Cinj said...

I have been wanting bees for quite some time, but I have to talk hubby into it still. He's kind of stubborn that way. I thought the queen was usually marked with a color and kept in her own seperate box or container? I had a friend who didn't know that, lost her queen and had her bees swarm and leave. How sad.

Ms. Huis Herself said...

Cinj - great question! You can get your queen marked (different colors = different years in a standardized code) usually for an extra cost. If you get a package of bees, she is kept in her own queen cage - a small cage - 2 packs of gum sized - to keep her separate from the rest because they're not HER bees. It's to give them time to get used to her pheromones w/o killing her right away. Then after a few days, she's allowed to be released into the hive with the bees that are now accepting her as queen.

I'd recommend doing a fair amount of reading first & if you've got a local beekeepers club - join it!!! So far, we're loving it & it's been easy.