Its now been about three weeks since we first installed our bees and I wanted to share with you how they are doing. We were a little apprehensive after first getting them installed because we went on vacation for a week three days after installing them and worried something might happen while we were gone and we’d lose our hives. As you’ll see, the bees made it through the week we were on vacation despite our absence!
The day after installing them I was very excited to see how they were doing. Before going into work I went out back and took this video of them. This was about 7:30am yet they were out early flying around getting oriented. One even flew over to say good morning, landing on my hand while I was recording the video. It was a great feeling seeing them there after the first night and not all flying away (I had lots of worries after reading about all the things that can go wrong when introducing a new package of bees into a hive).
Bees On Syrup Feeder
Prior to leaving for vacation we did a mini-inspection of the hives. The first thing we looked for was how they were doing with the syrup. Since we’d be gone for a week we wanted to see how fast they were drinking the syrup to determine if they had enough to last the week we were gone. You can see from the picture that they were all over the feeder but after two days it looked like they’d be fine for another seven with the remaining syrup.
Yes, my engineering side shows in this article’s title, what can I say?
Newly Selected Bee Packages
The day our bees arrived we took off work early to drive down to Virginia Bee Supply to pick up our two packages and equipment. Picking out our packages was a very unceremonious process, we gave our names and then were told to grab two packages from the trailer covered in bee packages. We had no idea what to look for so I looked around a little bit and picked out a couple packages that seemed to have fewer dead bees on the bottom and felt heavier than the others and put it in the back of our car. We then went to the back shed (which is the main store room for the business) and picked up our jacket, brush, and smoker. Continue reading
Being new to beekeeping, the most sure fire way to get bees for our hives was to order packages of bees from a bee supplier. Some people order them through the mail, we were fortunate to have a local beekeeping supply company near us in Northern Virginia called Virginia Bee Supply. They bring packages of bees up from larger apiaries and sell them on a weekly basis during the beginning of “bee season” (typically mid-late April – May). We called in early March and while sometimes packages of bees can be in short supply, we were fortunate that this year we were able to get our packages from one of their early shipments (last week of March).
We also needed a smoker, bee brush, and veils which we also ordered from the supplier to be picked up with our bees.
Each package includes approximately three pounds of bees and a queen bee. The package includes a can of syrup that the bees feed on during transportation. Next to the feeder hangs a separate queen cage that contains the queen bee. They are kept separate because the queen was not necessarily part of the group of bees in the package so they need time to get used to her. Continue reading