Well another year of Beekeeping has begun here in the Kootenays. Today I picked up my ladies after a night shift. I’m not going to lie, while I was excited I was also dog tired. My thanks to Axel and Terry for getting me a headstart so I could get my ladies settled before my work trip.
This is what a nurse looks like after night shifts and no sleep and no time to prepare for her bees!
I roused my darling assistant, my volun-told husband, at the crack of ridiculous (630 am) and gathered my equipment. While my suits were dirty (the plan was to launder them for this years season), I found all my tools and off we went.
This is a nucleus (or a nuc). It is essentially a mini sized hive consisting of 4 frames of brood (babies), drawn comb, honey, nurse bees and a queen.
My job as a beekeeper is to take these nucs, expertly raised by Liz and Terry of Kettle Valley Queens, and move them from their temporary home into their new hives. Its like an unboxing of awesome proportions.
Above and Below: I am lifting a frame of brood from the nuc and moving it to the centre of the langstroth hives. These frames of brood are placed in the middle of the box to help protect the brood and keep it warm but also to encourage the Queen to move outward and lay move eggs
If you look closely, you can see the bees in a fenzy around me, bouncing off me and fanning to tell their breathren I am potentially an enemy
Today was a good day to move the bees, as it was cool outside and even raining at times. Bees will not fly in these conditions as the amount of energy needed to stay warm and the risk of being damaged and also they want to protect their hive from potential hazards to their homes and food stores.
When you do a move, there is always some stragglers who haven’t left the box. Therefore, its best practice to leave the box nearby for them to fly to their Queen before night fall. Cooler weather also helps the bees to not overheat during transport and therefore risk loosing the hive due to nurse bee or Queen death. Bees also used elevated temperatures for defence, but that is a post for another day.
So, how did it go? Pretty darn amazing! No stings on this move, even though Liz’s bees tend to be a bit more aggressive. In bees, aggressiveness isn’t a bad thing. It means hives will defend themselves, often have good grooming practices and are prolific honey producers (if nectar is available).
We also managed a bit of housekeeping on the bee trailor (level and braced it), got the solar electric fence up and running for the season. This beekeeper has learned her lesson. Bee bear aware, because bees and comb are tasty treats.
That’s all for now Bee Enthusiasts, back to work I go! More pics to follow later this week as I make my first split. To Queen or let them ReQueen themselves.
❤ from the Hive….