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New Honeybees

New Honeybees


Honeybee on our native Huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum

You would possibly keep in mind that we opened the hive a few months in the past and located our massive colony of bees had disappeared, apart from a small cluster (and a queen) huddled close to the entrance of the hive. We weren’t satisfied they’d survive, they usually didn’t; I suppose it’s attainable that they flew away looking for a greater location, however largely they perished. It’s been a wild spring, with a whiplash of temperatures, and neither the vegetation nor the bugs appears to know the right way to behave today.

Fortunately, I had ordered a brand new colony from Mann Lake in Davis, and this previous Saturday we took a protracted and wet drive out to choose them up. Mann Lake is a big, nationwide operation, however we had by no means visited considered one of their shops earlier than – it was a wonderland for beekeepers, with each attainable piece of kit on show. We picked up a number of helpful objects like a brand new brush (used to brush the bees round softly once you’re elbow-deep within the hive) and a few hop pellets for the smoker, however largely we had been there for the bees. We picked up a common package deal of Italians, three kilos or so (which is about 3000 bees), with a queen and a can of sugar syrup to maintain everybody happy whereas touring.

It was raining after we bought again dwelling, and it’s ideally suited to put in the bees late within the afternoon or simply earlier than darkish anyway, so we put them apart whereas we did different chores. (It’s ideally suited to put in a colony simply earlier than darkish, so that they aren’t tempted to fly away.) Earlier within the day I had spent some high quality time cleansing out of the hive, scraping away numerous the outdated wax and propolis, extracting some ants and washing away their tracks with delicate, unscented, eco dish cleaning soap, and utilizing some penafin on the hive legs, each to guard the wooden and deter any ants who tried to climb up.

Lastly, the raindrops slowed sufficient that Tom was capable of set up the colony. It at all times kills me that I can’t assist with the bees anymore, however not less than I can take footage.

You possibly can see that we’ve supplied them with a jar of sugar syrup (1-to-1 ratio) since they don’t have any saved honey to eat and it’ll be some time earlier than they can retailer something they accumulate. There’s loads of nectar and pollen accessible now that it’s getting hotter, however till they’ve some comb constructed, it received’t assist them a lot.

Tom hung the queen in her cage between the bars; the opening to the cage is full of a marshmallow-type sweet, which the employee bees will eat. By the point they free her, they are going to be attuned to her pheromones and won’t be tempted to slaughter her. As a substitute, a ‘hive thoughts’ will kind, the place all of the bees are working as one. Honeybees are one of many few bugs to do that; ants, wasps, and termites are the others. That is known as ‘eusociality.’ It’s fairly fascinating.

I’ve been checking on the hive usually and everybody appears to be doing precisely what they’re imagined to be doing; that’s, consuming the syrup, orienting themselves to the hive entrance, and hopefully (inside the place I can’t see it) constructing comb. This coming weekend, Tom will go within the hive once more to take away the empty queen cage and test that every thing goes in response to plan. In the meantime, it’s nice to have a buzzing hive again at Poppy Corners. I really like native bees, however it simply doesn’t seem to be an actual backyard with out the honeybees.

Gathering nectar from our mock-orange tree



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