I was a little nervous to install my bee package and it took me an hour and a half to get to the bee yard after work. I felt really rushed setting up my hive and weirdly worried everyone else would get all the “good” bees? Unclear, I may have told Chelsea that I was really jealous of the stay at home bee moms who could be there really early. I just want to have it all! So I asked one of the teachers to check my hive and make sure it was set up right. An older guy, and an expert swarm catcher, he approved my hive and then went and picked up the first package. All my worries were moot, I still got the “best” bees and the “best” location. He helped me through the whole thing. There are five regular teachers and they are rather long winded during the classroom component (like, I have experienced a five hour bee class. It is really shocking that children can go to school for so long). However, they were all so in their element in the bee yard. The teachers also are SO CAREFUL not to step on each others toes even though they want to make sure to expose the students to different schools of thought. The classes will be like:
Teacher 1: I like to do things way A but theres no right way and wrong way each has advantages and disadvantages so they’re YOUR BEES. And teacher two likes to do it this way B!
Teacher 2: Well, teacher ones way is not WRONG I just prefer way B for reasons X, Y, Z.
All the teachers will go around. It is how the classes get so long. The benefit of all of those choices was really evidence in the bee yard though.
Since I had one teacher helping me I subscribed wholesale to his school of though meaning I:
-did not dust my bees with powdered sugar for mite protection (although I plan to do this when I return)
-used rubber bands to affix my queen trap with the candy exit facing up (as opposed to using a thumb tack or tape, or facing the exit so gravity could help her get out)
-stuffed all the exits to my hive with grass which my teacher says the BEES WILL REMOVE THEMSELVES WHEN THEY’RE READY.
I found this idea to be so crazy. They will just all be in the hive getting used to it and each other and when they’re little bee honeymoon is over they’ll know because the grass will have wilted, so they’ll remove it and get down to work. They’re not just idle in there though, they are drawing comb, eating sugar water, fanning the hive, spreading pheromone, and hopefully eating the candy cork to the queen cage so the queen can get out! People think bees are busy, and they are, but really bees only do real “work” six hours a day. The rest of the time they just walk around looking busy.
(not my hive, see all the bees in the air?)
The installation was really easy (since the teacher did it haha). To be fair, he told me what to do a lot and I did some of it. I am a little sad I didn’t do it myself but really, if its done right the first time I might not have to install bees again for a long time!
I was only a little freaked out when all the bees flew out and for a second the air was thick with bees! Since mine was the first everyone was crowded around to see too. It was quite noisy for a minute there. Then I started to see some bees on the top of the hive sticking their rear ends in the air and fanning their wings.
This means they have accepted the hive as their home and are spreading the info to the others to get in the box. I set them up with a little 1:1 sugar water (my massive container broke unfortunately) and the syrup that they traveled with. Since I have to return tomorrow to see if they have moved the grass I will just bring them more food tomorrow. In the spring they can eat quite a bit if the nectar isn’t flowing yes (which it is, but they’re transplants) like, up to several gallons of sugar water. Different proportions of sugar to water can stimulate different behaviors. This mix is supposed to stimulate wax production. Ideally, the younger bees just produce wax from a gland in their abdomen it is sort of gross looking but also is so mindblowing:
(source) That is all wax coming out!
Then, all of my bees were in the hive and it was time to close them up and leave. Everyone was really sad about the fact that the bees that were still on the outside of the hive, flying around, or refused to leave the package would be lost to the hive. The teachers were, um, less sympathetic. The guy who helped me may have referred to them as welfare bees. Really though, a lot of people were upset by this, it was very upsetting. Then, when I got out of the car at home one bee flew out of the trunk. I never realized that a solitary bee was such a sad thing but she was doomed because I had driven her 22 miles from her hive.
I will return to the bee yard tomorrow to feed, then Sunday to make sure the queen is out/accepted. In the mean time I will have to occupy myself with my other new habit:
Buying Joan Rivers entire line of bee pins online. Why does Joan Rivers sell bee pins on QVC? Unclear, but the one on the left is called Joan of the Jungle! Lol. In the words of my friend “Nice…odd, but nice…”