Apiary Program

May 2010

May was the big month for us.  Not only did we get the hives in but the girls as well.  We broke the class into groups of 3 or 4 and rehearsed how we were going to put the girls into the hives.  It involved the main group of girls into the hive as well as getting the queen box into the hive as well.  I say again, we rehearsed several times, as inthe military, by the numbers until it went smoothly and each person knew what they were expected to do.  This is important, as our students had not had the experience a couple of thousand bees flying around them, and it is disconserting, as the good book says, makes perfect.  It probably does not need to be said but it is very important that each student be dressed out just the way they will be when this exercise takes place.  So they can get used to working in the equipment.  The bee gloves take a little getting used to and with some very angry bees flying around is not the place to experiment.

Each of us had 3 groups of bees and it went off well.  Of course, one of my group members did not follow directions and we came very close to loosing a queen.  Instead of preparing her over the hive he did it over the ground and sure enough, she did get out and on the ground she went.  Kurt and I worked the ground for 10 minutes before we found her and did place her in the hive.  We were 12 for 12 and all was right with the world.

As you will notice, in front of the hive, we have already placed sugar water for the girls to start building the wax that they will need to start making the brood supers.  Beleave it or not within 2 days there will be action on this game.  How do we know?  We left the box in front of our orignal hive a year earlier, the queen took a liking to the box instead of the hive itself.  Within 2 days, the girls had started making brood chambers in it and the queen had already starting laying eggs.  We convinced her that the hive would be a better place and quickly withdrew the box from her station!  It must have worked as they have become our super hive.

Here are some photos of our students populating the hives..
Sugar water, is the name of the game.  Once the bees are in and ready to go, the tiwilight zone before the coming of the first wild flowers is a busy one.  We had to make sure that they had plenty of sugar water to build the hive population.  For us, it averaged about 5 gallons of water every two days, or 2.5 per day.  Girls get thursty and the little red wagon did get a lot of work out.  Of course, since school was out, this left the burden to the 3 of us.  I must say, we did get pretty good at making the sugar water and making the rounds.  Towards the end of the month, the first blossums arrived - for us it was Russian Nap Weed and the girls were more than ready to start hitting what ever was coming to bloom.  That allowed us to cut way back and as the summer progressed, cut it out completely.

Robbing the hive, or now the real work begins

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