Thursday, 14 May 2015

That New Bee Smell

                Five new hives were added to my bee venture on May 12th making a total of ten colonies for me. I hope to be a big-time beekeeper someday but for now I’m just taking small steps to accommodate the learning curve needed and to avoid catastrophes by beginner mismanagement. Everything went well and I placed these bees right next to my larger vegetable garden at my grandpas old farm. (Sorry in advance for the poorer quality photos Ceone, I only had my iPhone camera on me J)

                The hiving process started in Winnipeg, where I picked up the bee packages at the bee retail and supply store called Beemaid. The bees come in a large tube as you can see called Arataki packages which originate from New Zealand. The package contains a kilogram of bees (perhaps roughly 20,000 bees) and also a queen inside a little wooden cage separate from the other bees.


                A few frames are taken out the hive to make room for the incoming bees and the hive and bee yard is carefully prepared beforehand. The first step is to (after staples are removed) to give the package a sharp tap on the ground (to get all of the bees to the bottom of the tube) and then remove the white cap on top. The queen cage is attached to a green mesh strip and taken out. All of the bees can be poured/tapped into the hive at this point.


                A cork is removed from the queen cage and replaced with sugar/wax. This is done so that the bees can slowly eat away at that sugar/wax barrier and gradually be introduced to the queen to get used to her. This helps to make the colony not so initially hostile towards her. The queen cage is wedged between a few frames, the hive is closed up and that is that! It’s fairly simple and actually pretty fun. My Dad and brother like helping me out with this process.


                The nest step it just to check and see if the queen is doing okay within the next few days and that she’s getting used to the place and laying eggs. I will have to start medicating them soon for varroa mites and American/European foulbrood (more on that later.)  As for the garden, my Dad and Grandpa tilled it up yesterday to make a nice seed bed and I measured out where everything is going to go. Seeding starts as soon as the soil can be worked in and I will start with the bare root stock and cooler season vegetables.



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