So since I my last entry it's been pretty jazzy around here! 24 hours after I put the bees in, the queen was ready to make her regal appearance. The grande Madame was ready to get to work. Being that I've never done this before I was unsure how long to wait the papers & books disagreed so I put in a call to Tim the lovely man whom I bought the bees from. He assured me that 24 hours was fine, and not to worry about the weather we were having since bees have been around for a darn long time and I was doing fine. I felt greatly reassured by his wisdom, so I went ahead and got myself ready to release the the queen. Given it was about 60 degrees and overcast I was wearing jeans, uggs and a hoodie. I decided to keep that gear on and just added gloves, a veil and a hat. Again, I am not using a smoker. So, out I trekked across the freshly tilled garden (ie, mudd) to get to the hive. Confidence in hand, or mind, I should correct, I looked at the strap on the hive. At this point it occurred to me that I had no idea how this thing worked. I gave it a try but all I ended up doing was pissing off the hive by shaking the hive a bit... that was not a good BUZZ noise... At that point I decided that I had better take a moment to let them calm down and use good ol' fashioned ingenuity to figure out that strap...
Hello Youtube! I came in stripped down the hat, gloves and veil and got myself situated on the computer. Three or four videos later I figured I had a better grip on it, just about that time my 14 yr old son came in. Ah-ha... a MALE.. certainly he'd know about a strap-release... right?
So HE put on the gear and off he went to try to fool with the strap. No luck. So we switched back, I am certainly investing in a second veil... Evidently after looking at this stupid strap for a while longer, careful not to jostle anything I noticed a black button on the black handle... could this be? a RELEASE?! Why yes it was! Hallelujah! I got the strap undone and lifted the lid, and then the inner lid, my bees were looking good! Just chillin' doin' what bees do. It was clear that I was going to need to remove a frame in order to get the queen out of her box. I removed a frame with few bees on it. I pulled the last frame and moved the others to give myself some room. I checked the queen she looked lively and well, a little yellow dot on her head. I will make mention that the entire queen box was covered by other bees, who didn't seem too happy that I was messing with her. At this time my entire hands were covered with bees! It was about this time I realized that the cork in the box was really lodged in there and would require a pair of needle nosed pliers to get it out. Here I am, covered in bees thinking, hu... not good planning Lees! My son grabbed a set for me and I carefully leaned over the hive and took out the cork, I'd read about queens flying off so I was careful to have her over the box in case she decided to fly. She did not. I reattached the box to the inner frame and put the frame I'd taken out back in. OUCH! Bee sting... right on my knee... really? I'm wearing jeans! OK, I looked, no bee... I finished up doing what bee keepers do... put the lids back on, but left that infernal strap off because dang if it wasn't just as confusing to put it ON! Plus, I'm not gonna lie, my knee was stinging because I had not been able to just scrape out the stinger so I could feel it in my leg. It isn't so painful that I feel like I'm going to die, certainly not anything that's terribly pleasant. I think I would liken the sensation of being stung to a mosquito bite on steroids, a little more painful but not all that bad. I'd rather have a bee sting any day than in itchy bite from a mosquito.
I went back in the house took off the gear and then removed my jeans to see what was up, and there was a bee... the little bugger that stung me. I had totally forgotten that bees crawl, and crawl up my leg this one did, right up under my jeans and over my boots. Note to self on that one!
Clearly no longer a danger of being a stinger, I called my son up to my room and handed it to him. Here are some of the pics he took. He was sad it was going to die, but it was a great learning tool for him to hold a bee and feel how they feel on your skin. He was quite fascinated by it.
As you can see, I pulled several frames, checked for wax and larvae, which I didn't see too much of, but I do see good activity, and I did spot the queen. That was what I going for. As an aside, you will also note I have some new tools. I bought a bee brush, a hive tool, a frame clip and a
queen catcher, all as a package deal for less than $15 on Amazon. I wouldn't have gotten the other two items the clip and the catcher unless it was just a part of the set, and it was, so hey? why not? That is a significantly lower $ amount than here in town at the store, amazingly it got here in 24 hours! I was thrilled! I did use the brush and I also tried out the frame clip.
Last of all since I am going to be gone a few days I filled up the bee food, and after I spilled an entire gallon of it on the ground by the hive, oops. I did get it all settled. Alls well that ends well. So the hive is on it's own for a week or so, I will leave them alone to let them BEE....