Friday, June 6, 2014
New Bees - Finally!
We decided to go with 2 nucs this year instead of packages, like we did at first, so we could get a head start. I'm glad we did. The pic at top shows bees going in the Hello Sweetie hive a few hours after Lily and I installed them. Notice the bee flying with with pollen. Yay!
Nuc is a clipping of the word 'nucleus' as in 'nucleus hive'. It's a laying queen plus 5 frames of drawn out comb, brood and bees. A reputable dealer will make sure that there are plenty of eggs and larvae and that the queen is a good layer. I was not disappointed. The Hello Sweetie hive had 4 1/2 frames of eggs and larvae. The Bowtie hive had 5 full frames of eggs and brood and was looking for more space.
I laid a leafy weed on their doorstep to help them know to re-orient when they fly out and come back to their new home.
After an hour and a half ride home and being trundled up the hill in the wheelbarrow, these bees were making a lot of noise in the cardboard nuc boxes they came in. We let them rest for an hour, then installed them. I was a bit nervous with all the noise and we suited up complete with gloves, which I hardly ever wear for inspections. I was extremely pleased to find that they are nice and calm.
So, I finally have two hives up and running for this year. [Bowtie on left, Hello Sweetie on right] Whew!
After a lot of thought about why we lost our bees during the winter [even though they had candy boards and were wrapped appropriately], I've come to the conclusion that one hive was weak from a large mite load and all three hives were just too small to weather the polar vortex. My goal this year is to grow lots of bees in every hive. We will feed sugar water for the entire season and try to get very large hives that can stand the variable winters here.
I'm praying to St. Deborah and St. Gobnait, who are the patron saints of beekeepers [Could be the same person, actually] to help me out. Help me raise lots of bees and big hives, ladies!