Monday, June 28, 2010

Moving a Bee Hive

A few days before hand, I'd transfered my 'super nuc' into it's own new hive (I'm trying a traditional 10 frame this time), and put Tanya's nuc into her own hive (that I'd borrowed to create my super nuc). We had successfully raised (or rather the bees had) a laying queen that looks great (nice and big, like a date!), and now it was time to transfer the hive to it's new home just a 7 minute drive away. Tanya looked online and said that the info on moving a hive was rather limited, so I'll at least tell you what we did!

My brother, Scott is very handy-dandy so I trusted completely what he came up with. 
First: He used packing tape to tape up the cracks between each box. 

Second: He used strapping to hold the entire hive together.

Third: Since our drive was only 7 minutes, we stuffed the entrance hole with playdough. Generally, you are supposed to use some type of screening that I guess you'd nail or staple in place. But playdough seemed so simple and easy. Scott taped the playdough in place for good measure.

Fourth: Scott and Victor carried the hive to the car. I'm the type of beekeeper that gets fully dressed to do anything related to my hives. I have no pride about not wanting beestings. So, to see them do all of this without anything makes my skin crawl. When the TRANSFER event approached, I decided that this was a man-job. Sorry ladies. Having never done this, I was happy to have the men take over.

They plunked the hive into the back. As you can see, Tanya put up a quilt for good measure ... but I don't think a bee could get out of that Fort Knox if they wanted to!

Proud new beekeeper!

Carrying the bees to their new home.

Setting her down.

Now ... to unlock Fort Knox.


Honey Lemonade and the Apiary

Honey Lemonade
My bee-friend Sarah introduced me to honey lemonade. Yum. So of course I've been experimenting. Here are a few versions I love:

Honey Mint Lemonade: 1 Cup honey mixed with 1 cup HOT water from the faucet, Juice of 3-4 lemons, 4 Cups cold water, 2 large sprigs mint, ICE. (Crush the mint and strain for a mintier flavor)

Honey Lavender Lemonade: 1 Cup honey mixed with 1 Cup water -- heat over the stove until hot, then throw in a large handful of lavender flowers into the pot. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Juice of 3 lemons mixed with 4 Cups water. Pour steeped lavender/honey mixture through a strainer into the lemon/water mixture. Add ICE. Enjoy!!

Meanwhile, speaking of HONEY, there has been a lot of activity in what I might officially call my apiary. As I'd mentioned previously, my sister-in-law Tanya was interested in becoming a beekeeper herself. My hives seemed strong enough to split, so we did. I took 3 frames from one of my hives, and 2 from the other and created for Tanya a "nuc". Through this process, the bees will notice they are living without a queen and go about raising their own from fresh eggs on the frames in the nuc. (See previous entry for a lengthy description.) 

A week later, my bee mentor Diane came over to inspect my hives with me to see how they were doing. I wanted some more experienced eyes to take a look. "WOW!" she said "There are a LOT of bees in here! These are two very strong hives. You need to split again or you will get a swarm." Alrighty. I didn't have supplies for THAT!! Diane really thought I needed to take more than just 5 total frames out of both hives to have any impact. I needed to create either two nucs, or one SUPER nuc. So that's what we did. 

The next day Tanya was good enough to loan me her hive-in-waiting (while the nuc we'd just made the week before was incubating) to use for the super nuc, AND to help me dig into my poor hives AGAIN to create another nuc. 

It was a bee-bonanza. The bees weren't thrilled with being bothered yet again, but a beekeeper's gotta do what a beekeeper's gotta do. We took both of those hives all apart looking for all of the essential ingredients that go into a nuc -- then of course, ya gotta put everything back together with bees flying everywhere. Just stay focused on the task at hand and ignore the beezillion bees zipping around you and bouncing off your veil. 

We did it.
(This photo was taken just under a month ago after successfully creating our two nucs.)