Sunday, June 2, 2013

HCG Buzz

Today we got to play with bees. The Holland Community Garden received a grant which allowed us to purchase and stock two bee hives as well as bee equipment.  We were invited to come participate in installing the two new hives.  While we both expected to just watch from afar and take pictures, there was an extra suit available for one of us to use. Timothy knew Shannon would be much more geeked to get up close and personal with the bees.  He graciously allowed me to be the astronaut.

Shannon sporting a bee suit.

The bees arrived in two nukes which hold 5 frames, a queen, drones, and worker bees. This is a good way to jump start a new hive as the queen has eggs and larvae in the frames as well as honey that the worker bees have made.

Two nukes full of bees
Master bee keeper preparing smoker to calm bees.
New frames for hives

We transferred the 5 frames into the new hives and added 3 more new frames to the base boxes.

Transferring a frame from nuke to hive.
Full hive with 8 frames in place

While we were being taught how to take out and replace frames, the bee keeper pointed out different aspects of the bee activity. One important thing was to find the queen and make sure she was alive and healthy as it is extremely easy to squish a bee. In fact, we unintentionally squished several bees every time we moved a frame.

Shannon holding a frame while the master bee keeper points out the queen.

Beautiful bees and their brood.

After all the frames were inside the hive the cover or roof was put on.  There are vents in the hive box on the top and a door at the base. The "door" is a piece of wood with different sized openings cut out of it so you can control how large the door is at different times of the year. In the winter the door is small because you want to conserve heat and not many bees are flying. In the summer the door is large to allow air circulation and room for many bees to enter and exit.

Putting on hive roof.
Transfer Complete

We are very excited to learn more about caring for and observing the bees. Someday Shannon hopes to have her own hive.

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