Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just Enough To Be Dangerous Pt 1

Because once you've taken a 10-week course, had 2 field days (or a field day and a hive removal at one of the instructor's houses), passed a written and a practical test and trolled all the facebook Beekeeping forums that'll have you, you obviously know tons jack shit.

I think at one point my facebook status read something along the lines of 'I hope passing a certification test in beekeeping is more helpful than High School French was in France'. Totes magotes. I know *just* enough to be dangerous.

I was SO EXCITED to get my bees. Finally the day I had been waiting for had arrived! Weeks of anticipation on top of 4 years of wanting to had finally come down to one day in which I would go to work at 6am (where we were down a person) on 2 hours of sleep, dip out at 9:20, get my bees, drive them home, go back to work by 10:30, stay until 5pm, go home, feed childs and manchild and the menagerie, and then! Oh! And then! INSTALL MY BEES.

Oddly enough all of *that* part went off without a hitch. Seriously surprised the shit out of me that it did. I left my bees under (what will be) our back porch so they could stay cool and wait for dusk.

Adorable! This is what 6lbs of bees comes in!
Wait. Hold up.

A few days BEFORE the arrival of my bees, because I've totally reinvented myself this year into a planner/organizer extraordinaire, I actually set up the hives outside where they're going to be. The phone call that day to the Redneck went something along the lines of "...oh. yeah. I set up the hives.......Where did I set them up?......You remember where we talked about them going? Where I showed you?.....Yeah, I didn't put them there." Thankfully he is amazeballs awesome and this is a typical conversation for us.

So I actually had them all set and ready to go for bee arrival day.

If my life were an old book, this plate would read "where we find that the Element, indeed, acts as a farm truck"

SO MUCH HELP hauling heavy-ass cinder blocks and commercial pallets. Sidenote: that was the pallet the cinder blocks for our house foundation got delivered on, so pretty damn sturdy methinks.

Because CUTENESS! And ready for BEES!
There's a lot of equipment involved in setting up your bees. And I'm not even talking frames and supers and whatnot.  Syrup to feed them, syrup to spray them (so they can't fly AND so they're distracted while you're shaking them around in a box they've been cooped up in during transport for 2 days....), protective gear, rubber bands (!), the list goes on and on.....

Checking the equipment.
But I had help.
Bee buddies!
First thing you do is check the queen cage to make sure she's alive and kicking.
The queen in her cage with her attendants

Yay for 10 year-old videographers.

Then you get her situated on the frame. She'll stay like this for a few days while she and the other bees chew through the candy plug that's keeping her prisoner. Then she'll get to the business of laying eggs as soon as she can. The hope is that by the time she gets out (3 or so days) the hive has accepted her as their queen and they have drawn enough comb for her to have somewhere to lay said gazillion bajillion eggs. The game here is to boost the population enough that they store a LOT of food for the winter and so that they still have an OK population to start out with next spring.

Queen cage installed onto frame. Note the super professional rubber bands. Next up: install the rest of the bees!

The Acorn's fancy shmancy shot
Needless to say at this point I kinda screwed some shit up that took another day to fix. But that is another story for another blog post.

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