Waiting for the Bees to arrive

by Beekeeper's Wife on May 9, 2011

Airing out the bee yard

As May gently starts, we are waiting for the bees to arrive. I ultimately only had two hives survive  the winter strong enough to be ready on their own.  I have aerated  the hives by taking them down and hope to have nature clean them out. Be that rain or wind, it can help with odors. The sun will also help dry them out.  I still have to clean out the brood frames.  For this year, I will clean off all the cells on the existing plastic frames, get any mouse nests out, and let the bees start fresh.  This can prevent any carry over of disease.

Getting the yard ready

This year,  as in past years, I will be getting my bees from Lapps Bee Supply. The delivery is running late about – 3 weeks – due to weather  difficulties out west. My preparation consists of cleaning up the bee yard and getting limbs and some old fencing out of the way before the weeds start growing.  Then I will need to get the boxes ready on location in the yard.

Supplies

I have plenty of powdered syrup left from last year.  I have supplies of paper and and bailing twine for use in the smoker.  The twine works really well for a long burn with plenty of smoke.  We have several local farmers as neighbors, so we have access to as much as I need. I plan to prepare several bait hives for placement in our woods to capture any errant swarms.  All my bee suits are washed and ready for use. I have 2 full suits with helmets and one half suit with a zip on veil that I leave in my truck for honey bee removal.

Honey for sale

Honey from Luscious Laurent Honey

Honey from Luscious Laurent Honey in various sizes

Our honey supplies are dwindled down to the bare minimum to supply the family. We are just about sold out from last years harvest. This might come as a disappointment to many of our friends who have found the benefit of using honey and having it readily available for their athletic training or baking needs. We always like to offer some the chance early in the harvest to buy 50 pounds in a pail, but most consider that too much to store. That is until, we don’t have any left.

Its a Bee Date

So May 9th is the day I go to pick up bees with my truck.  My daughter would likely appreciate the fact that I have a truck with a separate cover now. One year when she and a friend wanted to come with me, and we only had a Pathfinder without a separate bed, they road back from Lapps under a blanket lest an errant bee that get out of the cage (which has a feeder and a queen).  It was sealed off with plastic to keep them separate but the girls always thought it an adventure.

Marking Queens

Once the bees are placed in the hive, I add the queens.  In the past, I have not marked the queens, but this year I will. You can easily mark them with nail polish.  If you do this, you can use different colors so you can identify what year for each queen.  Some beekeepers replace the queen each year to ensure a fertile and productive queen.  Some of the data on wintering bees, suggest that you remove any two year old queens before preparing the hive.

You can check on the fertility on your new hive and queen by seeing how much regular worker broad is in place after a couple of weeks.  If there are a lot drone cells, the orignainl queen might be infertile.

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