Today after finishing my daily chores (feed/water rabbits, check for eggs, feed/water chickens, feed/water baby chicks, water seedlings, feed/water dogs), I drove to Cass Lake to meet up with my Mom and her friend. We then drove together to Hackensack and picked up my new colony of honeybees. I was very impressed at the turn out of beekeepers that were arriving to pick up their packages of bees- who knew there were so many that share this hobby. The employees at http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ were very helpful and polite.
I received my package of bees which is basically a small wood box with screens on the sides. There are 3# of bees inside the box (about 10,000 bees), a queen in her own separate cage and a can of syrup. The can of syrup is what the bees feed from during transport. The queen is in her own separate cage because she is “new” to the other bees and they wind up “getting acquainted” during there trip.
Gene is laid up with troublesome back problems at the moment, so he watched from the window as I installed the new colony of bees into the hive I bought last December. After removing the can of syrup (it is actually what helps seal the hole in the box) I took out the queen cage and replaced the cork in her cage with a marshmallow. The worker bees will eventually eat through the marshmallow and release the queen. After securing the queen in the hive I dumped the rest of the bees in. I’ve never heard a swarm of bees up close and they were certainly making tons of racket buzzing loudly- you definitely can tell when they are pissed! I sealed up the hive and walked back to the house- with a few bees still clinging to my suit.
Now I just sit back and wait a few days until it’s time to check on them. I will open the hive to make sure that the queen has been released from her cage and check to make sure the worker bees are building comb on the frames. Eventually the queen will start laying and the population of the hive will grow. By August I should have around 50,000 bees. I wont be able to collect any honey until next season, as they will need this summers supply to survive through the winter. Next year the colony will start out stronger and will produce extra honey that I can “rob.”
The weather has been rainy all week so I haven’t been able to put up the tipi yet. I’m hoping this next week will bring better weather and I should have the tipi set up soon. I also ran into problems with the maple tree sap. The weather prevented me from building a fire and I was not able to boil down the sap; it spoiled! Next year I should have the wood stove fired up in the tipi and I won’t need to rely on a nice day to boil sap. The garden is waiting to be tilled. The tiller I borrowed from the neighbor isn’t big enough to cut through the sod in the yard. Plans are underway with a local farmer who is hopefully going to bring over his tractor and get the job done. I have cabbage seedlings that are patiently waiting to go outside!
Spring is underway and everything is taking off at once- makes me glad that I was able to spend all winter resting up! Till next time…