This is a snapshot of what goes into my life on the Nebraska Prairie. What living on a small ranch is like and what goes into running a small business from home. Life is very unpredictable out here on the prairie and activities vary from day to day. Here is to that life....
The Buzz about Bees.
Way back in early March the Nebraska Prairie Girl ordered herself two packages of Buck Fast Bees.
Finally, the bees arrived on June 11th from Texas. I was getting very impatient because the bees were suppose to be delivered in the middle of May. Because of the drought in Texas the apiary was not able to harvest bees as often as usual. So, the bees were back ordered. I never knew that bees could be back ordered. My impatience was because there is a very short time frame in the spring when the honey flow is at its best. I was afraid that my bees would not get here in time to take advantage of all blooming plants.
Bees are shipped in a screened in box. The box contains a can of syrup for them to feed on during shipment. I also ordered a queen for each of my two packages of bees. The queen is suspended in her own little screened in box the has a sugar plug in it. The worker bees will eventually eat through the sugar plug and release the queen.
The photo above is of the queen in her introduction cage. This allows the worker bees the opportunity to except the new queen before they release her.
The queen can be marked as shown here in this photo. The mark makes it easier to find her in the hive amongst all of her workers.
In the photo to the right you can see what the box looks like that the bees are shipped in.
My friend and neighbor Cassie is learning to work the bees for me. I have learned that I do not have time to do everything that I would like to do and do it well. Cassie was very interested in learning to keep bees, so I told her I would order bees for my hives if she wanted to be the bee keeper.
In the photo Cassie is feeding the bees. We used a sugar water mixture that we paint onto the shipment box. The bees readily eat the syrup off of the screen as it is painted on with a brush. The idea is that the bees will fill up on the syrup and be full which will make them happy and content.
As you can see Cassie and my husband Dave are now is suited up in the bee gear. I am not suited up as we work the bees. Of course, I am in my farm girl dress making Dave nervous. He does not realize that most of the time I do not suite up to work bees unless I am really going to dig in the hive. (do not try this at home and do not tell Dave.)
Cassie is in the back of the photo taking the top off of the shipment box. Once the lid is off you have to remove the feeding can and the queen box. The queen box is now put into the hive body suspended between the hive frames. Now here comes the fun part, putting the thousands of bees into the hive.
To the right you can see Dave shaking the bees into the hive body.
Now you can see Cassie holding the shipment box and Dave is pounding the top of the box, to encourage the bees out of the shipment box and into the hive body.
In the end, the bees were very reluctant to leave the shipment box. Usually they are happy to move into the new hives, but not these bees. So we had to do a little creative bee keeping. We turned the shipment box upside down on top of the inner lid opening. This allowed the bees to move into the hive at their own pace. It was windy that day so we put some concrete blocks on top of the shipment box so they would not blow off. The openings of the hive are stuffed with grass, this keeps the bees in the hive so they can get acclimated to their new home. The grass will dry out and the bees will push it out of the opening and begin their quest for pollen and nectar.
Within a couple hours, Cassie reported that the bees had all moved into the hive body and she was able to place the lid on the hives. The hive that I use is called an 8 frame garden hive. I really like the look of the cooper pitched roof, and 8 frames make it much lighter and easier for me to handle. I purchased my hives from Brushy Mountain Bee farm if you are interested in more information. The bees were purchased through R Weaver Apiaries if you are interested in learning more about Buck Fast Bees.
The honey that is produced from our hives is enough for our family and use in some of the goat dairy products we sell at Double L Country Store.