Saturday, April 24, 2010
god (or two inept bee-keepers) save the queen
do you know how much fun writing a blog entry with another person is? not much. but i thank wine for putting me in good spirits, and summit for tempering the man's verbal taunting. anyway, the bees arrive. it is traditional to name a queen and her hive, and we have named our girl Queen Snooki and her Guidettes. we've only seen two episodes of the jersey shore, but that was enough to permanently burn a bumped hair-do, sausage-casing-as-clothing, and "italian"-ness in us forever. and, since our bees are of the italian strain, it only seemed rational...
sugar-water to spray the bee package with, sugar water feeder, and pollen patty--what keeps bees going during a normal april. with the back yard in full bloom, this is not a normal april but we're keeping with protocol anyway.
the package itself, around 20,000 worker bees (all females, if you didn't know), and a queen safe in her little itty bitty condo.
the prepared hive, complete with entrance stuffed with grass. the grass is to inhibit the wanderlust that the bees may have after being driven a thousand miles, sprayed with sugar water, bonked around savagely a few times, and dumped unceremoniously into a fully non-furnished pre-fab home. these bees got rid of the grass in about...an hour.
spacesuits are essential for the full bee-handling experience:
(in the above picture, neil armstrong carefully removes the can of sugar water that satiated the colony until their arrival in st paul. gravity is an issue, unlike the moon.)
or, conversely, it is common to also dress in minnesota athletic wear for those "oh crap we really need to fix this and why are we so confused about a bunch of insects" times:
then, the bees are sprayed with sugar water to keep them from flying off. somebody did not spray them enough (that was me), so quite a few were flying around, confused and alienated, which was a lot like our clients at our day jobs. but most bees were shaken into the hive body (no pictures. 20k in bees kinda brings on a....rush, you know?)then, removal of the queen in her box:
just before adding the queen:
we unfortunately have no pictures of the queen release. this is for two reasons: she did not allow for photojournalists, and she was also incredibly feisty and all concentration was needed to be sure she didn't leave for greener hives.
ready for the top cover and feeder:
and the girls get used to their new digs:
after the condo-developers who also run this blog finally sat down with appropriate drinks to celebrate the new tenants, old friends flew over our heads and landed in the yard:
and in short order decided to visit the bee open house for themselves:
bees were installed thursday early evening. today, even with all the rain, many worker bees were returning to the hive with pollen on their legs. in a few days, we'll check for queen acceptance, and hope that snooki has decided to grace us with her brash italian presence.