The bees for the top bar hive that is at the host house arrived this morning. I got up early, got everything ready, and then went to pick them up from New England Beekeeping Supplies. There were hundreds of packages of bees, many were in a trailer with a fan blowing to help cool them down. The package that I got to take was already out of the trailer.
It’s quite something to ride in the car with approximately 10,000 honey bees sitting next to you. While we were driving, they made an occasional soft humming noise. The drive home was uneventful.
I stopped at my house to pick up my family before we headed over to the host house. We made sure we had everything we needed. When we got to the host house the first thing that we had to do was make sure the hive was still level. We also needed to tighten the stand and set up the feeders. I had placed a drop of lemongrass essential oil in the hive before I went up to get the bees. I wanted the oil to have a little time to air out before the bees moved in.
Once the hive was ready and the feeders were in it was time to open the package. My daughter was very excited to help with this part. I used the hive tool and opened the top of the package. My daughter held the queen cage up as I pulled out the can of sugar water. We got the queen box out and brushed off the bees that were on it.
The queen is alive and she was walking around in her box. The cork needed to be pulled out of the queen box, but I had some difficulty. My husband had to get his knife out to finally dig the little piece of cork out. Then the queen box was ready to go into the hive, so I set her on the bottom.
Now the exciting part: I got to bang a box full of bees onto the ground to try to force them all to one area of the package. Then I poured them into the hive! I had to bang the box a few times to get the majority of the bees into the hive. There was still a big clump of bees in the box that I could not get out. I set the box under the hive to allow the bees to come out and find their new home. I carefully placed all of the top bars back in the hive and closed the lid.
I came back several hours later and all of the bees that were in the box when I left were still there. It had been raining all day and it was cold. I needed to get the rest of the bees into the hive. I decided to open up the bars that are over the feeders in the hopes that less bees would be right there. It was a good decision.
Once the hive was opened again, I tried to bang on the box a little more and shake the bees out. Some of the bees came out, but not all of them. I broke open the box and tore off the screen to get the rest of the bees out and into the hive. I was able to get most of them and I placed the box back under the hive to give the few bees left a chance to find the opening.
I will go back tomorrow to check on them and see how things are going. It has been raining most of today and there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow morning. I will wait until the rain has ended and then I will see how they are doing. Hopefully I can just look in through the window so that I don’t have to disturb them by opening the hive.