Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Bees Are Settling In

Last Wednesday (April 17) we were lucky to have a sunny day for our drive to Snohomish to pick up two packages of honeybees. Even better, the sunny weather made for a perfect afternoon to install the packages into the hives. This is our first year having two hives instead of just one.

Trish has become quite the pro as far as the bee installation goes. My job is more to make sure our two cats stay inside during the process because they're very curious and want to interfere (I think if we could ask them, they would say they're "helping"). Right when we got home, one of the cats sort of leapt/charged at the package that was waiting near one of the hives. Anyway, the cat wrangling is the easy part.

The more complicated part, of course, is Trish's role as the bee-installer. Over time, she's come up with a lot of ways to make this easier. For example, she lays out all her tools on a bench she puts near the hive so that everything she needs is just at hand (smoker, pliers, bee brush, etc). She also has learned that it works best to cut away more of the screen from the bee package rather than to try to force all the bees out of the small hole at the top (the first year, we'd watched a YouTube video where the beekeeper shook the package until all the bees came out the hole, and most of them do come out, but many of them linger in the package, and it's easier to get those bees out by just cutting away one of the walls of the package). Well, I'll have to ask Trish for a list of tips she's put together. This was her third time installing packages of bees.

From an observer's perspective, the process went pretty quickly, but I'm sure it felt longer for Trish inside her protective gear. The bees have been very busy and active in their first week here, even over the weekend when the weather was on the rainy side. Go, bees!

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