You know that feeling when you realize you have bitten off more than you can chew. This is a little bit how bee keeping feels to me this Spring. Now, mind you, that HUGE bite is delicious! However being a gardener, with beds to prepare, Spring crops going in, lots of rabbits, just as many Spring projects as rabbits, one dozen growing chicks and trying to finish the end of the school year strong, can be exhausting. Then add these buzzing insects, that put a new meaning to the word busy, and you have yourself one HUGE bite to chew. That’s o.k. though. Pretty soon all this business will melt into the lazy days of Summer and slow down for a spell.
So, I would ask you if you want the good news first or the bad? However, since there would be a big time lapse in your answer; I will just dish you up the main course of bad with a side of frustrating. First let’s back up a little. Remember that mean group of bees I called “Blondie and the Girls”? You might recall that I took out Blondie, due to her Africanized genetics threatening those around her. I then introduced a civilized European bred queen. We were hoping this would turn the whole situation around and we could rename and start out on a brand new foot, so to speak. Well “The Girls” killed the new queen. Yep, she was no match for that feisty group of girls! To be fair, I cannot be certain that is what happened, but it seems likely to me. All we know is that, when James and I checked back into the hive, we found no queen. Nor did we find any brood(baby bee larvae) or eggs. What we did find was a very angry group of girls, with no leader and lots of pollen and honey. To make things worse in their state of discontent they were attacking people. Remember this hive was behind the community garden with a church nearby. Some one in my life suggested that I take the honey and drop a match on the whole project. I have to admit, I fantasized about that very scenario, for just an instant!
However, just in the nick of time my friend James swooped in and saved the day! Who says gallantry is dead! Whoever it is, doesn’t know James. He and his amazing friend Shannon belted up this hive, but good, and whisked them off to the country where they could be managed safely.
Hey, I wonder if I put a post out there about my angry teenagers if someone will come and whisk them off to the country where there is room and space to rehabilitate them? Pardon me, while I just daydream about that for a moment. By George, I think it’s worth a try! Kidding, kind of.
Back to bees. James, who swears he is not a pro at this, but just a good researcher, thinks the situation can be turned around for the good. We transferred a frame with freshly laid eggs from a nice peaceful hive into the evil one. The hope being that they will turn those eggs into a new queen. Hopefully she will fly out and mate with various, kind gentleman and return back ready to get down to bee business. It occurs to me that there is a whole lot of hope in this scenario! I promise I will keep you posted!
Now for the good news! I installed my first package of bees in my top bar hive! If you are wondering what a package is, it is just that; an eight pound package of bees with a queen included. The queen is already mated and enclosed in a tiny cage, so that the girls can get used to her before release.
The UPS man delivered it right to my door. He seemed rather ill at ease to put it mildly. He said, that was a first for him. I beamed and said, that it was a first for me too! He seemed glad to be rid of that buzzing package. I, on the other hand, was thrilled to receive it!
The install went so well. My Fisherman got the whole thing on video. I am totally in love with these girls. I think we will call this hive The Busy Body. Thank you David, for the great name suggestion! I think it is kind of fitting for this busy season of bees. Enjoy! I hope this inspires you to dive head first into the adventure of bees! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. Oh, and also let me know if you want to come and pick up my teenagers to work on your farm. We will have them all bound and gagged and ready to go! 😉