Today was a very exciting day: we picked up four new boxes of Russian bees. It was a long wait from the time we realized all of our bees had died over the winter to the arrival of their replacements. John’s little apprentice was getting antsy to try out his new beekeeper suit.
This morning we drove out to Snyder’s Apiaries in White Hall to pick up our order. Four boxes of bees went into the back of the Jeep for the ride home. That’s 44,000 bees, in case you were wondering.
Back home, the bees went into the cool, dark basement to “chill” while the hives were readied for them. The warm, sunny backyard would have gotten them too excited.
Harper put on his beesuit right away, even though he didn’t quite need it. He was put to work brushing off the hive screens. And he was great at inserting the frames into the beehive. He really warmed up to the task…more and more of the suit came off as he worked!
Once the hives were ready, it was time to bring out the bees! Harper’s job was to spray the bees with sugar water to keep them busy eating while John moved the queen from the moving box to the hive. The queen comes in a separate box with a plug of sugar, like cotton candy. Over the next few days the worker bees will eat through the sugar plug to release the queen to join the rests of the bees in the hive.
John temporarily removed a few frames from each hive so there would be room to dump in the bees. How do you get the bees from the box to the hive? Ya just dump ’em in!
Then Harper helped PopPop gently re-insert the frames. The lids were put on the hives, and the straggler bees, who didn’t come out of the moving box, were set in front of the hives. Within an hour they all came out and made their way into the hives with the others.
So, hooray, the bees are here! Now they can settle in and get to work making honey!
And for those of you who are wondering where on earth we bought a junior beekeeper suit…oh, the wonders of the Internet. Rossman Apiaries in Georgia has a great online store. http://www.gabees.com/home.htm