Thursday, April 26, 2007

the queen is in da house...

Yesterday around 5:45pm I returned to the hives to release the queens from their special cages.
This involved opening each hive, removing the queen cage from between the frames, and prying out a small piece of cork that was keeping the queen in. Then, I had to put my finger over the hole so as to keep the queen from falling out-I lowered the cage and my hand down in the hive and watched her walk out. I did this for both hives.

The bees were much more cohesive this time...less flying around and jumping on me - unlike the hiving day. Not sure if it was just because of the time of day, temperature, or just the craziness of the hiving day...probably all of the above.
I checked the water feeder and it had been used more than I expected, will likely need to return to fill it up soon (2 gallons). I removed a few rocks I'd placed in the water tray to allow the bees to get down to the water easier...I'd put them there so the bees wouldn't accidentally drown. The cages that I'd left near each hive still had a few stragglers in them, or perhaps they were just revisiting (it was pretty cool out so I doubt they would have lived overnight there). I shook out as best I could the rest of the bees in each cage, but still left each sitting beside the hives.

Hive 1 (closest to the walkway) was opened first, noted the grass I'd placed to block the entrance had been removed or was blown out by the wind. Hive 2 still had it's grass in place. Noticed Hive 2's feeding jars were not elevated enough for the bees to get under them, so I used two sticks to raise the jar holder up a little higher. Hive 2 also had a few dead bees that were around the feeding can/cage area, guess they didn't make it into the hive and died overnight due to the temps.

The hardest thing this trip was being able to put the inner cover on without squishing any bees. I tried the slide on technique, but noticed I caught a few on the end.

I sort of feel sorry for them...being tossed about on the long ride here and being de-caged...only to learn it is a cooler climate, with a new, empty home to furnish.

Tim, my mentor, said to check in on them on Sunday or thereabouts, to see if the queen is laying eggs- assurance that she is still alive. He also said not to use my smoker the first few times, as it could piss them off or make them leave...since there isnt a full hive to protect.

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