|Bees, bees, bees!
After over a year of planning, we got our brand new packages. On Saturday we picked up two 3-pound packages of Italian honeybees. We were as much excited as our wives were not. We read every beekeeping book we could get our hands on and every beekeeping blog we came across. We trolled beesource.com and were entertained for hours by FatBeeMan. This was it, the moment of truth.
And then it was over. After all the work we put into making the hives, reading everything that can go wrong, and learning the biology and anatomy of Apis mellifera, we just kind of stood there thinking we should be doing something more. But what more could we do? We sprayed them lightly with sugar syrup, smacked the packages to dislodge the bees, removed the can of syrup and the queen, and dumped the bees in the hive between the center frames. The packages were set outside the hive entrances so the remaining bees could fly into the hives. We removed the cork from the candy end of the queen cage and put it on a frame with the candy side up to be sure the exit wouldn’t be blocked by one or two dead attending bees. That only took ten minutes. There had to be something else.
|Inspecting the new packages
After going inside, there was something else. There were bees still in the packages and it was getting cold. Since I can’t leave well enough alone, I went out to finish shaking these bees out, lest they freeze. Plus the bees were, like, a penny apiece, and there had to be a whole quarter still in those packages. After another ten minutes, I again decided to meddle and give the packages another shake. Did I mention we watched a lot of FatBeeMan? If FatBeeMan has stingless bees, then we must too. Plus it’s just an install. The packages of bees aren’t defensive, so who needs a veil? I did. I pushed my luck, ticked off a couple bees, and they let me know it. Once on the forehead and once on the neck. The neighbors must have loved seeing a grown man thrashing at his flannel shirt running across the front yard. After a brief roundup of the few stray bees in the house, I reflected on my idiocy. I read somewhere that when the bees sting, don’t ask why they stung you, ask what you did wrong to make them sting you. We’ll have to keep that in mind.