Remember I posted that the bees were flying? Well, they were, and then they weren’t. On inspection I found a dead hive with lots of honey and no signs of disease. We had some very chilly nights in April, and that could be the cause of the problem, but I’ll never know for sure.
I’m an optimist in the garden, but a cautious optimist. Not all plants will grow, not all seeds will germinate, not all bee colonies will survive. Plant extra, expect some disappointment, order a three pound package of bees over the winter, just in case.
Andrew was ready to try an install, so I talked him through it and did my best to stay out of his way.
We pulled a couple of frames out of the bottom hive box,
pried the plywood off the top of the package,
then pulled out the can of sugar water
and the queen cage.
We made sure the queen (marked with a blue dot) looked ok.
And then it was time to shake the bees into their new home.
The queen received gentler treatment. We removed the metal disc on the top of her cage, exposing the candy plug which blocked her exit. We poked at the candy a bit to get things started, then placed her cage between two of the frames in the box. The thinking here is that it’s best if the worker bees have some time to acclimate to the queen. By the time they get her out of the cage, there will be no doubt that she is in charge of the hive.
Two days later I took a peek, and found that the bees had done a thorough job of opening the plug to release the queen into the hive. I removed the queen cage, made sure the frames were positioned properly, and left them to it, cautiously optimistic that they will thrive.
(All photos by Dagny Dream, Dream Photo.)