Friday, May 18, 2012

Bee Calm & Carry On....

I truly enjoy keeping goats and chickens, even though there are times when it is hard.  When a predator comes into the yard and kills a chicken, my first thought is to quit.  It feels like I have failed in my responsibility to protect my animals.  I have had to bury a tiny baby goat because I didn't check on him on a hot afternoon even though I knew he was weak.  Guilt pricks and stabs at me and I think about selling the entire herd because I am not a good enough steward.  The satisfaction of routine always wins over and I keep on.

A few years ago I was given an opportunity to try beekeeping.  Then the next winter, all of my bees died.  So, I  did what I always do and convinced myself to quit. Last summer came and I found myself missing my bees terribly.  As much as I love keeping goats and chickens, beekeeping is different.  I have never been what you may call an easy going person.  I tend to lean toward the dramatic.  With bees you cannot fake calm.  You have to be calm.  Before doing any work with bees you have to take a deep breath and reach deep down and find your confidence and strength.  I have never meditated but I think it must be the same sort of thing.  So this winter I ordered a package of bees, determined to try again.

They came yesterday.

I had destroyed a lot of the old bee equipment, since I was not sure if the bee's demise was due to disease .  The pieces that I kept were disinfected with heat.  I purchased new foundation and prepared the frames.

I had never introduced a nuc of new bees to a hive before, so I asked a lot of questions, re-read my books and watched a few You Tube videos.  Then I just did it.

First you remove the plywood covering the nuc entrance and remove the can of syrup.  The Queen cage is hanging from the same entrance.

I removed the cage and knocked her attendants off.   Then attached her to the frame.  There is a piece of sugar candy that her attendants will eat, this slowly releases her from the cage.  This allows the rest of the hive to become used to her.  I think if you just dump her in, they may not recognize her as the Queen and kill her.

Then I turned the entire nuc over and shook all 10,000 bees into the hive.  I can't describe the feeling of  exposing yourself to TEN THOUSAND bees.  I wore my gloves, but I decided to forgo the veil.  My husband stood off to the side taking pictures and saying things like, "Woah, wait...are you sure?"  I was.

Then I replaced the frames, carefully.  I placed the can of syrup and a protein patty in the upper super and put the hive back together.

I have bees in my hair.  BEES IN MY HAIR.  I am calm...I am calm...

If you are wondering, I did not get stung.

And I have bees once again.  I find myself sneaking down back every hour or so to check on them and I am happy.  And CALM.

Smiles from the farm,

Also here is a picture of The Other Duck.  He may be getting a new girlfriend this weekend.  And what is he sitting on?  You'll see.  Soon!


  1. "scream" you have bees again. How wonderful. Did you name them? I am so happy that you have bees. I miss my bees. Our neighbor is getting bees and I want to play over there. I know what you mean about checking on them. There is something so elemental about bees. I love them too. Just dont give them a kiss. I heard they kinda get offended. Much love.

  2. If you name them, I want you to introduce each and every one. :)