in which 10,000 bees are finally home

The hive finally arrived and I was able to assemble it, with some help. I had quite a little tantrum at one point, trying to figure out how a person with two hands (that would be me) was supposed to hold two pieces of wood, a drill, and a screw. “That takes four hands, people! Four! What the $#&! ????”

Well, it turns out the drill bit is magnetic (taking care of the screw) and you lean one piece of wood against something and brace it with your leg, leaving one piece of wood and the drill for the two available hands. I know this should be obvious but it just wasn’t and I kicked and swore until Paul came and took the drill away from the crazy lady and calmly demonstrated and I said, “Oh.”

Next Sophie and I carried the various parts and pieces over to the site as Luc and Paul played in the creek nearby, but at a safe distance in case the bees decided to kill me. Everything ready, I commenced to move the bars of bees and honeycomb–an amazing quantity given the short length of time!–from the plastic tub over to the new hive.

Here I am putting top bars into the assembled hive.

me moving the bees

And here I am moving a topbar with comb and bees. Unfortunately it’s blurry, sorry, but it’s still pretty interesting.

holding-up-a-comb.jpg

I’m using a squirt bottle of water instead of a smoker. It seems to work very well and supposedly doesn’t stress the bees nearly as much (water being “just a little rain” to them, but smoke being “death! destruction! gather the stores, we have to move!” Hey, rain is less stressful than fire, to me, too.)

Once I moved over all the bars that already had comb, this is what it looked like inside.

honeycomb

Isn’t that pretty? You can see the natural shape of the comb, a lot of it full of honey. I didn’t look too closely to find brood. Next time I’ll check for that. I was doing pretty well to keep my nerves steady as it was.

Okay, I got all the bars in place, maybe half the bees inside and a bunch flying in the air, freaking out, and here is what it looked like.

topbars

You can see the emergency topbars that were on the plastic tub–they are farther away in the shot where all the bees are. Those bars are too wide, really. I’ll phase them out.

Sophie and I watched for quite a while–it took about ten minutes for the bees to find the new entrance. They stayed clustered at the top where the entrance on the tub had been, until finally one bee climbed into one of the new entrance holes at the bottom and within seconds a long chain of bees formed as more and more bees went in. It was almost like they were holding onto each other in case they had to pull the brave, first bees out.

Here is part of the chain kind of stretching from the top to the bottom, plus a lot of blurred bees in motion, flying around us.

bees find the entrance

Sophie was great. She took all these pictures, except the one inside the hive. She is totally unafraid, all involved, asking questions. She is so cool! “I want to learn everything you learn about the bees,” she told me. Here she is pretending she is a bee, flapping her arms and saying “buzzzzz!”

sophie being a bee

Tune in next time for further bee updates.

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