My neighbor the compulsive gardener needed a new hobby – so Dana, (the neighbor) came up with another nature-related theme – beekeeping! After going to classes to learn all about beekeeping, Dana decided to take the plunge. He invited interested neighbors and friends to watch as he put together the beehive upon the arrival of 20,000 honeybees. He gave a fascinating and highly entertaining demonstration. I say highly entertaining because while the beekeeper knows his stuff, he kept forgetting important parts that needed to be added to the beehive – like the pollen patty and oh! where are the scissors? I need the brush! Wait, this push pin won’t work to attach the box holding the queen to the frame – I need a rubberband! Meanwhile, some bees are flying around and most of us don’t have bee suits on…. but in the end, it all worked and now we have 2 beehives in the neighborhood.
Dressed in his beesuit, Dana explained that each box of honeybees he had picked up that morning from his bee supplier (who had driven them up from Tennessee) contained about 10,000 bees.
Dana began his demonstration over at the hives. He was showing us one of the frames where the honeybees will start making the cells (honeycomb) or cones, as they are called in the apiary world.
In the above photo, you can also see the white circle of special food for the queen to eat. It will take about a week for her to eat through the food and make her way into the main hive. If the queen was put directly into the hive, the bees would smother her.
In the next photo, the queen’s box is now dangling between 2 center frames and adhered by the blue tack, which ended up being too high for the next piece to rest on so a rubberband was wrapped around the frame and box, holding the box in place.
Dana then literally dumped the bees into the frames, as shown below.
Notice that Dana is not wearing gloves. He wanted to show that honeybees are very tame and will sting pretty much only when provoked. (He was stung only 2x during the whole demonstration)
In addition to the Bit O’Honey look-a-like pollen patty, the honeybees will get nourishment from a can of sugar water that is turned upside down with holes underneath. Since there is no honey in the hive as yet, their food needs to be supplied.
Another gray box is placed over the can of sugar water, then another lid is the final piece.
The bees are checking out their new home. Click on the above photo to see them close up. The whole process was done a 2nd time and Dana has 2 buzzing hives in his backyard.
Stay tuned for the next installment – Trouble in the Hives