Morning Meanderings… Spending Time With BEES

Good morning.  😀

By the time you read this I should be on my way to the cities to join my friends for a bike ride this morning for MS.  I left town at 5 am, and the ride starts at 8 am. 

Last Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to go and hang out with my friend Amanda who has just started Bee Keeping with her husband.  I can not lie, once I seen her in that bee- outfit… I knew I had to go and check this out.  Lucky for me, she understood my crazy thirst for knowledge and invited me into the hive…

literally.  😛

The had just bought more bees and would be moving them into their new homes.  I came over to help. 

This is a picture of me (left) and Amanda (right).  There are the bees they had just purchased.  They had bought four of these boxes and we were going to place two of them in their new homes.  Amanda says each box contains around 10,000 bees.

SSSQQQUUUEEE!!!!

This is the boxes that the bees will be placed in. I am sure there is a better name than “boxes” I just do not know it… 😀  The smoker thing in the background helps to mellow the bees as soon we will be letting them out of the boxes you seen in the first picture and dumping them in their new homes. 

Inside the boxes are these slats where the bees will make the honey.  The section to the front with the two holes is for a liquid we pour in that the bees will drink and it keeps then from getting ill or infected by mites and dying.  (I hope I am remembering this right).  This is a new unused bee box, that is why it looks so clean.

 

In each of those boxes you seen in the first picture is a Queen in her own little box.  Crazy right?  She has to be protected at all cost.  Amanda here will now replace the wooden cork in the end of this little box with marshmallow.  Yup, you read that right.  Then, once placed in her new home… in about three days the worker bees will eat the marshmallow enough to set her free among them.  All hail the Queen!

 

After Amanda and I thoroughly spray the bee boxes with a sugar water that makes it hard for them to fly… we pour them into their new home. 

 

After the bees are in the box, Amanda carefully replaced the slots where they will go to work making the honey!

Just playing with the camera… I feel like an Oompa Loompa.  😀

 

Before the lid goes back on this big hunk of food goes on top and I can not remember what it is called.  😀  This will feed the worker bees, who in turn feed the Queen for the next several weeks.  When the weather warms up the bees will produce their own food.

 

This is one of the bee homes that they started several weeks ago… you can see on the central grids that work is being done. 

 

 

Amanda says that every few weeks you need to check these for a couple of things.  1.  You want to remove these little sacks you find on them which I am told is the worker bees making a new Queen.  Rude right?  Apparently if the bees feels that the hive is too full they will attempt to create another Queen and then take the existing Queen and leave the hive to make a new one.  By scraping off these sacks you are assisting in preventing that.

2.  She checks for the Queen.  You want to make sure she is within the box somewhere.  This is easier said than done.  As the bees fill up these grids, another box of grids is added to the existing one on top.  Amanda says by August (harvest time) the boxes should be stacked so tall she will need a step-ladder to get into them.  Currently these older homes have only two stacked so not too deep… still, we are looking for a single Queen bee among the 10,000.  😯

How do you pick out the Queen?  She is larger and longer than the others, has longer wings and is more of a buttercup coloring .

Looking for the Queen….

The experience was incredible.  I was not nervous at all.  When we started working with the older bee homes they were more aggressive, not liking to be disturbed.  Several went for my face mask, which was kid of like 3D as they hit the mask in “attack” mode.  Before we left the area we had to wipe each others outfits down, Amanda said I was covered with bees. 

That is my contribution to this weeks Saturday Snapshot.  Stop on over and see Alyce at At Home With Books to see what others are taking pictures of around the world. 😀

53 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings… Spending Time With BEES

  1. That is so neat! I have read The Secret Life of Bees and wanted to know more, very interesting. Loved the pictures!

  2. Beekeeping is fascinating! That’s great that you got a chance to help out. I’ve a friend who’s been having trouble with his queens – he imports them from the States but the last few that were shipped died en route because of some shipping issue.

  3. I LOVED this post, Sheila!!!! What an amazing experience you had and your friend’s endeavor into bee keeping is pretty awesome. How in the world could you ever find the Queen!!! I would feel like an Oompa in that outfit too!!

  4. I loved this post too! Beekeeping is just so interesting! Those boxes are called ‘supers’ … the only reason I know is that our neighbors have just gotten their bee shipment and talked about putting up three new ‘supers’ …

    Great photo sequence this week! Hope you are having a great bike ride … great cause! Good on you!

  5. I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of references to beekeeping lately, but mostly in fiction. I applaud your courage to confront the bees in real life! And if your last line wasn’t a deliberate reference to Eddie Izzard’s “I’m covered in bees” sketch, you should look it up. 🙂

    Good luck with your bike ride!

  6. Loved the pictures! And talk about a needle in the haystack – trying to find the queen in a hive of 10,000 bees??? Wow! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

  7. That was such a cool post! I don’t know if I’d be willing to keep bees myself since it seems like a lot of work, but it looks very neat. And I must be very distracted this morning because when I saw the part about the buttercup coloring I immediately thought of the part in the Princess Bride where she is announced – “Princess Buttercup!” 🙂

    1. I knew nothing about Bee Keeping Eva! 😀 I did not know that they can come and go as they please, or that the Queen will travel up to ten miles form the hive and return. I also did not know that in the winter when it is cold, the hive will maintain a temp of 85-90 degrees and the bees only come out of the hive to do their bathroom business! 😯

    1. I did have a great time. I wasn’t nervous, I felt safe… no idea why. I told Amanda after they fixed my broken finger without drugs last year because I did not want to wait for the meds to kick in, I felt I could take a sting or two 😀

  8. What fun! As you can probably guess, I’d love to spend the day with bees. They are fascinating! I had a hive of what I think were bumblebees in my yard one year. It was in the ground. They buzzed around the flowers all summer and never bothered me. They didn’t return the next year and now I miss them.

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