The girls are here! All 12,000 of them. They arrived yesterday from Georgia, and we picked them up today. We moved them into their new house this afternoon and hopefully they will start decorating IMMEDIATELY. Honey for everyone for Christmas!
We've been talking about starting an apiary for a long time. It's a fascinating culture. I did a little beekeeping many, many years ago but was only a helper so my experience handling the bees was limited. But I do remember lots of information about apiculture and the equipment. This spring we looked into it and decided it was time.
We took a class offered by the local beekeepers' association. We met some local beekeepers and got some recommendations of vendors of equipment and bees. We bought some hives and frames, known as woodenware, and placed our order for 3 pounds of bees. Yes, you buy them by the pound. Most of the package bees bought in this area come from Georgia.
Paul painted the hive bodies, found a spot in the orchard and got the equipment out there. We picked the bees up Saturday, and I put them in the hive that afternoon. I felt really comfortable working with them. I wore a full suit, no sense in getting stung plus the more comfortable you are when handling them the better results you'll have with them.
The colony arrives with a mated queen. She's in a separate little cage with the bees and you have to put her into the hive in that little cage. She is usually able to get out in about 24 hours. We can't open the hive until they've had 3 days to get settled and the queen hopefully begins laying eggs.
One more day and I can look to see how they are doing! Here are some photos. I'll update more as things begin to happen.
That's me putting them into the hive.
Come on in.
So far, so good!