We got our nuc (nucleus hive) last Tuesday evening, and it was a bit like the day we brought Darling Daughter home from the hospital, though not nearly so scary or life-changing. For one thing, bees don’t require diapers or middle-of-the-night feedings, and we had spent fourteen hours of class time learning about the Apis Mellifera (honey bee) — a lot more training than with the aforementioned daughter (worrisome, if you think about it, so try not to).
In both cases, we felt woefully unprepared but excited about our new endeavor.
We picked the bees up about 8:30 pm and drove them home. Following the instructions of our “bee guru” (aka the woman who raised the nuc), we carried the hive to its stand and gave the bees a few minutes to collect themselves before we removed the wire netting over the hole of the inner cover. After another short wait, we pulled the tape off the hive’s front openings.
I had suited up in full haz-mat gear for the occasion, but the bees were surprisingly calm, so we continued to the next step, setting up their sugar-water feeder. We put an empty hive box around it, with bricks on the cover to discourage the raccoons from investigating. They visit our yard regularly, and we know from experience with a too easily accessible bird feeder that they’d steal an outside feeder.
After watching the girls for a few minutes, we left them in peace and went inside. (I refer to the bees as “girls” because worker bees, i.e. the ones who do all the work, are female. The male bees, or drones, do nothing but mate with queens.)
The next morning, I gave the girls some pollen patties. These, along with the sugar-water, will supplement their diets until the hive is strong enough to completely provide for its own needs.
Then I stood and watched. Despite having been moved twenty miles to a different environment, they appeared unfazed, going about their daily tasks and completely ignoring me.
Observing them is like meditation. There’s something calming about the fact that they know what to do and just get on with it.
I’d post a video so you could see what I mean, but unfortunately, I’m too cheap to pay $8.25 a month for a premium WordPress plan.
Guess you’ll have to make do with the pictures below of our girls coming back from foraging, weighed down with pollen. And if you know me personally, feel free to ask to visit so you can see for yourself.