Mark has been really busy getting our bees ready.
In another blog I talked about how unfortunately we lost our hives over the winter. So in March we placed an order for two 3 pound packages of bees.
As time started getting closer, we started getting the hives ready. Mark actually got crafty this year and decided to cut the legs off of an old table we had laying around. This is so that the hives will stay up off of the ground, helps keep the moisture at bay and also helps keep them cool in the hot summer months.
The honey farm in town here, Hansen’s Honey Farm sends their bees to California every winter to help pollinate the Almond farms. They than keep us all up to date on when they will be traveling them back to town, usually takes a few days to get here, as they are traveled back by truck. Today we got there right as they opened and picked up our bee packages
How to get them into their hive
When they come back on the trucks, they are in a small box. The queen is in her own divider, separate from the rest of the hive. The hive also has a can that has some sugar water in it, that they can drink to keep them full while traveling.
Once you are ready to get them into the hive, you have to get the Queen out first and get her into the hive. But you have to slowly introduce her into the hive, so the other bees get comfortable with her and don’t kill her.
To introduce her into the hive, you must remove her from the box. There is a little cork that is keeping her in her divider, but she has to be able to come out of that so you have to remove that and than use something the other bees can eat or chew at to get her out. We used a marshmallow, but I do believe Mark has used newspaper before in the past. The other bees will than chew at this marshmallow over time and than they will be comfortable with the Queen so she can start telling the hive what to do.
Once you get the marshmallow in the divider, you can add her to the hive. Should take a day or two for the bees to get her out and into the hive. Once the divider is in the hive, we than added the box of bees. Now, some people do this different ways. Due to the bees being gentle, you can shake them out and into the hive. This year, Mark decided he wanted to just let them come out on their own by turning the box upside down and letting them crawl out on their own.
This year we chose to get 2 different kinds of bees. One hive is Italians, which are gentle and good honey producers. The other is Carniolan’s, which are also good honey producers but are more apt to surviving the cold weather. Both hives seemed to be very gentle which was a concern at first, because we have always had Italians and they have always been so gentle, we didn’t want to bring home ones that aren’t, especially being in town.
We are very excited this year and cannot wait to see how these ones work. We have decided we aren’t going to harvest any honey from them unless we absolutely have too, to make room. We want to ensure they have enough food come winter, being as we are almost certain that is why our other hives didn’t make it.
Stay tuned to see how they do this summer. I really look forward to sharing more about what they’re up too and how things are going. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Much Love and Honey,