Honeybees: Dumping the bees

Hey everyone! While I’ll been very busy on my short story collection and my next novel, plus the final book in the High Water series, I’ve also been raising bees. Why not have more hobbies than you can healthily manage?

“Honeybee02”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Honeybee02.jpg#/media/File:Honeybee02.jpg

Rather than rehashing everything I needed to know about bees before installation, I thought I’d write about what I learned during my package installation experience. That video does a great job of describing how it goes to give my comments some context.

Bee Poop:

Picture yourself in a box, clinging to other imprisoned humans. Your fearless leader is nearby, trapped in another, smaller box. Everyone, your closest friends, can’t get her out. Despair sets in. The muttering of your fellow incarcerated sisters grates.

You’re cold, cranky, and all you have to eat is pure sugar syrup. Drinking the syrup has given you a headache. You yearn for protein, for variety.

The last thing on your mind is taking a dump. Where could any of you take a dump, anyway? You’re all locked in a box.

Then the light hits you. Freedom! You try to race for the exit, only to be sprayed down with more sugar. “What? What the hell?” you think.

In a cascade, you are dumped into a wooden box. You’re now nervous, agitated. “Where’s the queen? Where am I? Why am I covered in sugar?

Let loose. Let loose your cares, my little buzzing friend.

Bee poop, especially after eating nothing but sugar syrup, is gross. It looks like something belonging in a baby’s diaper, just brown liquid streaks. Of course, the runs can be a sign of other diseases (the infernal disease Nosema), but I also get diarrhea when I’m nervous. Since I haven’t seen any more of it, I’m not worried yet.

Poor bees. Upon exit, they crapped everywhere. On their box. On their new hive. On each other. Cooped up in their box, they’d held it in, not wanting to soil their queen.

Of course, I was too concerned with not getting stung not clean up after them…

If your bees have drawn comb in the package box, watch out:

The package box is meant to be a temporary refuge for your bees in transit. They aren’t supposed to be in there for more than a few days.

Drawn comb with larvae AKA “Brood”         “Bienenwabe mit Eiern und Brut 5” by Waugsberg (talk · contribs) – Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bienenwabe_mit_Eiern_und_Brut_5.jpg#/media/File:Bienenwabe_mit_Eiern_und_Brut_5.jpg

The vendor kindly let me know that the bees would be used to each other, that they wouldn’t kill the queen if I l let her out. Great! A group of bees already happy with their queen means a quicker transition to a functioning hive. Regicide is known to happen when queens and workers don’t have time to get to know one another.

Drawn comb, that is, comb the bees have used their various organs to produce, was visible inside the box. Sugar syrup gives the bees the carbohydrates to create wax. It comes out a stark white color.

As soon as I reached into the box, I knew I had a problem. Angry buzzing. The thud of tiny bodies against my bee suit. Uh oh. The bees clung to the collapsed side of my veil and stung me in the neck. I grabbed the queen’s cage, got her into the hive. Howling, I dumped the rest of the bees into the hive, putting the wooden boxes together as fast as I could.

My battle scars ached for a few days, a reminder of the RAW POWER of TINY BUGS. Take caution if you think your new bees have already drawn comb! Your bees might think they’ve already found a home. And if they do, woe be unto you!

Bees are the chillest

“Bee-apis” by Maciej A. Czyzewski – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bee-apis.jpg#/media/File:Bee-apis.jpg

Now that my queens are queenright, I’m enjoying watching the ladies explore the yard. Some of the local birds seemed a little too excited about my new purchase, so I hung old CD’s on string from nearby trees. It appears to have worked. Now the bees drag in the early crop of yellow alder.

It’s incredible to sit back, light a doobie, and watch my girls work. When a bee flies by my head, I know she’s one of mine. Absolutely fantastic.

I highly recommend The Backyard Beekeeper for those interested in getting started. Read as much as you can, and from multiple sources!
Also, anything on kiwimana is excellent. They are awesome people.
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Honeybees: Dumping the bees

  1. tjhdesign says:

    What a crazy cool hobby. Your description of the package box sounds like a living nightmare, haha. On an unrelated note, old CD’s hung on strings keep birds away? I can only assume they were old copies of Now That’s What I Call Music! I’d avoid those too.

    Like

    • R.W. Tucker says:

      Haha, yes, old mixtapes I’d forgotten I owned, plus a CD for programming my seven year old TV. That one is blue, just to throw off the goddamn birds.
      Packages are just as crazy as you guessed. “Nucleus” hives are a little less dramatic, but also more expensive.
      The bees are busy as heck, they each look determined. I like having these ladies working for me.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: