They’re Home

We picked up our package bees yesterday in Winston-Salem. Of course, when the pickup date was set, no one was able to predict that we would be in the middle of the last major cold snap of the winter. It got down to almost freezing last night, so we kept the packages in the house overnight – on the dining room table.

But this afternoon it was over 50, so it was go time for the installation! The hubs helped me install Queen Thyme and her court first, then stepped back to let me handle Rosemary (mostly) on my own so he could photograph.

For the record – I got stung once, on the thumb, and it was my own fault. I was not wearing gloves because it was so hard to handle zip ties with them on, and I squeezed one of the girls. I wore gloves the rest of the time.

The hubs got stung also, and that was NOT his fault. He got stung on the top of his head – no chance that he was squishing anyone that way! But he did decide to put his hat and veil on after that.

Beekeeper opening bee package box
Opening up the Rosemary package
Hive tool prying up on strip of plastic
The staple that held the queen cage in was really tough, so I tried to pry it up using the strap. That turns out to have been bad idea.
Beekeeper's gloved hand reaching into bee package
The strap came loose from the queen cage, not from the top of the package – so I had to reach down in for her.
Queen cage covered with worker bees
And when I finally got Queen Rosemary out, she was completely surrounded by her court. My glove was pretty well covered, too.
Queen cage with queen bee
Oh, but there she is – alive and well!

Zip Tie

Queen cage with zip tie
I got the cork out and then zip-tied Her Highness’ cage to the top bar of one of my foundationless frames
Shaking package of bees into hive body
And then we played “Shake Your Groove Thing” to get the rest of the team into place.

IMG_9319

Most of them went right on in, but many of them preferred to fly about. They obviously hadn't had a cleansing flight in a while, they pooped on me, and the hubs, and everything else they could get to.
Most of them went right on in, but many of them preferred to fly about. They obviously hadn’t had a cleansing flight in a while; they pooped on me, and the hubs, and everything else they could get to.
Four bees on landing board.
By the time I got the hive-top feeder on, a few of the girls had already found the front porch.
Pouring syrup from gallon jug into hive-top feeder.
I filled up the feeder with 1:1 sugar water before I put the inner and outer covers on.
Many bees on landing board
By the time I had the hive closed up, there were a LOT of workers out on the landing board and some were already fanning “home” scent.
And by the time I had my tools picked up and was clearing out of the way, some of them had already found the watering hole! Yay!!! I was a bit concerned, some people say that they don't like to get their water from too close to the hive, but so far it seems that they are okay with it here.
And by the time I had my tools picked up and was clearing out of the way, some of them had already found the watering hole! Yay!!! I was a bit concerned, some people say that they don’t like to get their water from too close to the hive, but so far it seems that they are okay with it here.
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