We installed 16 new hives last Saturday, April 23. Eight colonies went to Cross Plains, WI and eight went to Coloma, WI. We were very blessed with good weather for the whole day and the bees arrived healthy and happy. You can view all of our pictures in an album on our Facebook page, but I wanted to include some of them here too. Thirty-two pounds of bees is definitely a sight to see!
We kept the packages in the basement overnight until we were ready to leave on Saturday morning. Each of those packages contains two pounds of bees, a queen in a separate cage (to keep her safe), and a can of sugar water to feed the bees while they travel from California.
First, I squirt the bees with sugar water to calm them down. Then I jar the box on the ground to knock them down, which allows me to pull out the can of sugar water.
Then its as simple as dumping the bees into their new hive. It might be hard to believe, but they don't mind this at all and are extremely docile. They'll only sting to protect their hive and don't consider the package cage their home, so they're very friendly.
I release the queen separately from her own little cage, directly onto the combs. Once I see that she's safely in the hive, I carefully close it up and they take care of the rest.
I need to give the bees a little bit of sugar water in a feeder until the hive gets established. I can stop feeding them about the time the dandelions bloom.
The hives with their new residents in Cross Plains.
The new hives in Coloma. The solar panel in the front powers and electric fence to keep away the bears!
Bees communicate through a complex system of pheromones and dances. Dances vary in speed and style and can let one bee communicate the exact location of a nectar source several miles away. This blog is our way to communicate with you about the latest things going on at Golden Hills.