Every spring our flowering crab trees come alive. The sweet smelling blooms hang heavy with bees. You can hear them busily working from the other end of the barn. This year we are hosting our first hive. I can’t tell you how excited we are. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and decided to use essential oils in our hive instead of the recommended medication and chemical treatments. As I understand it, beekeeping is all trial and error so using the oils is where I’m starting.
I will let you know how it goes before I make any recommendations considering I don’t really know what I’m doing. Honesty it the best policy, right?
We picked up our bees a week ago on Saturday evening, a little later than I had planned but it worked out well. We were told that there is usually a long line of cars waiting to pick up and there are bees flying everywhere. Turns out we missed that organized chaos. We actually drove past the yard and when we pulled in we were the only ones there.
The gentlemen helping us took the brooder box from the back of my SUV and brought it over to a huge stack of nuc’s or mini hives as I would describe it. He began taking out one frame at a time and closely inspecting them. That’s where a few bees started buzzing about. I was just watching from the car when he asked if I wanted to see the queen.
Of course! I’ve been reading about the different types of bees in the hive and their roles so yes I wanted to see our queen. I grabbed my bee hat and hopped out of the car. It wasn’t the best decision I’d ever made, but it wasn’t the worst either. I got to see the queen and refresh my memory of what a sting feels like.
I was warned wear long sleeves and gloves or at least have band around your cuffs so the bees don’t climb in. I wore a t-shirt. Yep. I had long sleeves and gloves in the car, right next to the hat I grabbed. I didn’t want to miss out on seeing the queen and didn’t think twice before going to check it out.
Well, by the time we were loaded up and driving out I had three stings. All three under the sleeves of my t-shirt. I got the first (second and third) stings of the season out of the way and confirmed I’m still not allergic.
Once home, Mike set the box on the pallet stand he put together. He pulled back the hardware cloth that was keeping the bees in during transport. The handful that were loose in the car were enough, we sure didn’t need the whole swarm buzzing freely. That might have been the second minor mistake of the night as a few bees started to fly out and I think died because of the cool evening temps.
Mike moved the roof and top lid over just enough for me to fill the feeder with a sugar water and essential oil mixture for them. Then we carefully replaced the lid and were done for the night. Just in time for the sun to finish setting.
A Sunday afternoon hive inspection showed bees busily building comb for brood and coming back to the hive loaded with pollen.
Disclaimer- the (aff. links) on the essential oils will take you to Amazon.com, where I can receive a small commission on purchases from those links at no expense to you.