Wednesday, 8 May 2013

All Abuzz

(my wonderfully supportive, 
yet originally reluctant, 
turned promising beekeeper partner, 
Tommy, and I)  
brought the nucleus hives home late at night after all of the foragers had returned home, 
so as not to leave a single bee behind.
The bees were all abuzz after being jostled about and taken for a drive. 
And, we were a bit nervous to open their doors once we placed them on their stand 
there in the dark lower yard.
We were assured that at night, with no light, bees are crawlers not flyers. 
Of course, there were a few that hadn't heard about that rule!
For one full day we left them there,
those thousands of bees in their tiny little homes,
to buzz about, to forage a bit, and to learn the lay of the land.
Early the next morning, there was a bit of activity,
but nothing remarkable. 
Later, as the day warmed up,
the foragers began returning home with their legs loaded with pollen.
Fast workers, those bees!
A variety of pollen from different sources, ranging from pale yellow to bright gold,  makes for happy bees.


 the following morning,
when the foragers were out and about again,
we moved the colonies from their humble, little abodes to their new, improved, happy hives.

Since we already had our hands full, we were unable to document the move with photos.
To take the time to do that would have also put additional stress on the bees.
   I have to say, we were stressed too to start - awkward, and nervous.
As we went along, though,
we relaxed a lot and became more comfortable with the process
by the time we started into the second hive.
It was a bit of a chore - and we worked within a cloud of bees for quite some time - but, it all went well.
The majority of bees transferred into the hives along with the frames of comb.
But, there was chaos in the air
especially after knocking the last bunches of bees out of the nucs to empty them completely.
Even so, they really didn't take long to settle down - or, so I thought.
I wouldn't recommend returning to a freshly disturbed hive without protective gear
to perform one quick, last task.
I've learned a valuable lesson.

Even though the bees seemed to settle down quickly, they were still on alert,
 and an angry bee head-butted me in the nose.
I didn't get stung, surprisingly!
But, I panicked when she continued to pursue me and I ran.
When her buzzing became louder and more agitated, I realized she was in my hair.
I started flipping my ponytail wildly to dislodge her while running, then I turned to run back downhill when the uphill slope became too laborious.
I was dizzy, and losing my footing, and weaving back and forth trying not fall.
The downward pull of gravity on my unsteady feet was too much to overcome and I managed only to swerve to the right one last time in order to avoid falling into the Ivy bed where poison oak had sprouted up.
I went down on one knee and rolled downhill nicely, without injury.
Tommy had witnessed the whole episode and came to my rescue.
He lifted up my ponytail, found the bee, and brushed her away.
She then immediately darted for him, and turned back for me once again.
We made haste for the house as she followed us up the hill.
Luckily, she must have decided we were no longer a threat, and turned away.

the joys of beginner backyard beekeeping!

winded, and with wimbly legs 
I donned my protective gear, once again, 
just to finish putting a jar of nectar water into the second hive's feeder box.   

The small striped feeder box allows for inside, and outside access.
It sure didn't take long for the bees to find them and to appoint a sentinel to each
to stand watch
just inside the holes.

We didn't spend much time looking for the queens in the transferring process.
We'll spend more time on that during the first hive inspections.
We did spot a few of the drones, though.
They're hard to miss in a crowd of small worker bees with their big eyes, and fat, rounded butts.
Those cute fellas have no stingers.
We'll let the bees be for a while now.
In three days or so, we'll check for signs that the queens are alive and well, and laying eggs. 
It'll be exciting to see how much new wax comb the girls have built.
And, how they're spreading out.
With developing brood, 
and the queen laying about 1000 new eggs a day, there'll be 
bizzy, buzzy beez

(my wonderfully supportive partner of 15 years, Today - Tommy, and I)
will be enjoying many laughs recounting "the incident" to each other and everyone else.
You know, as he tells it,
I was also spinning in circles, flailing my arms about around my head.
I, however, don't remember that detail.
He really is wishing it was all caught on tape.
Happy Anniversary, Honey!