Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bees by the Pound

We put five pounds of bees in one of our hives this weekend. It went extremely well. The bees came in a small box with screen on four sides. There was a tin can with sugar water at the opening and the queen was tucked safely in her special tiny royal chamber next to the can.

We removed the can and extracted the lovely queen. She's a 2009 baby so she has a bright green spot between her wings. I attached her to a frame that was dripping with honey and then shook - yep, shook - the bees from their box in to their new blue hive. I gave them some empty frames to move into, closed the top, give them some sugar water and prepared to leave. We left the box, containing a few hundred bees, by the entrance so they could fly in.

For about 20 minutes, a small cloud of bees flew in circles above the hive, then slowly, they all settled in.

It was quite amazing to realize that they were accepting of this unknown box, frames build by bees unknown to them, filled with honey not of their own making just because it held their queen. Her scent called them to their new house making it their home.

Last year I was too chicken to get a package of bees. I was unconvinced of the power of the queen and her pheromones. Surely they would all fly away and I'd be left with an empty box was all I thought about. I purchased a whole hive - bees, frames, and boxes.

It is this hive that is the home of the new bees.

Oh, and bees run about $20 a pound and $20 a queen.

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