And Then There Were Three

Yesterday I got my bees! I drove out to Seattle with my mom and picked up two packages. The suppliers were even nice enough to supply you with marshmallows for releasing the queens!

I went home from there and immediately installed my bees. It had been warm and sunny while I was picking up the bees, but as I got started at my house the weather started to change. I had prepped some sugar water before I left the house, so when I got home all I had to do was spritz the bees and throw them in the hive. I quickly rearranged the frames so that the pollen and honey stores from last years bees were in the middle, and shook the bees in. While I was taking the cork out of the queen cage the queen actually managed to escape for a second. I was able to pinch her wings together and coerce her back in the cage. It was a very stressful couple of seconds, let me tell you. She was very energetic and ready to be started in the new hive, that’s for sure. She was an odd orangey gold color. Almost like the cheese color of Ruffles chips. Not very attractive, if you ask me. I expect good things from these bees this year. Since I had two packages to choose from, I set them out in front of me and asked them both if they would like to live with me. The box that seemed the most excited was the one that I picked. I think I’ll call this queen Terra the Tenacious. I’m hoping that her attempted escape is a sign that she’ll have a rapid buildup. That said, I’m sure she won’t stick around long if she does. In all honesty that’s ok though. I actually really like seeing bees swarm. There’s something calming about it.

Anyway, I sprayed the bees with sugar water several times while I worked, and no sooner had I closed up the box and walked away did the rain start sprinkling. Any bees outside the hive quickly found their way in, and I think losses were kept to a minimum. Here’s a picture of the new hive location!





I decided to move it because where it was had clearly not been successful. The hive had been in probably the coldest spot in the yard, and it wasn’t very forgiving. I’m hoping this year will be easier on the bees since the hive is higher up in the garden and gets sun sooner in the morning. Once we get the green house done the hive will have a nice wind breaker too. 

After things were finished at my place I headed over to my aunts house. Weeks ago I went over there to check on her bees, and found that they were still alive. Soon after, my aunt checked on them and thought they were dead. And by ‘checked on’ I mean that she knocked on the side of the hive. Whenever I’m not sure if the girls are home I like to knock, as if to announce that I’m coming in. If they are home a bee or two will usually fly out and investigate, which means I don’t have to get all suited up just yet. My aunt checked in on them at the wrong time of day though, so no bees flew out to greet her and she thought they were dead. So while I was over there yesterday I peeked in the top to see if anyone was home. There was a small cluster of bees at the top of the hive, but there was pollen coming in, which I took as a good sign. I sprayed them with some sugar water and quickly closed them back up.

The fun part was installing the new bees. And my aunt has her hives right next to an intersection, and her fence is chicken wire, so I had many confused faces watching me as they slowed to a stop at the 4 way. One father and son even stopped right in the middle of things for a few minutes to watch me. I would’ve invited them to come watch up close, but they had stopped right in the middle of the street in a very inconvenient spot. I waved at them as soon as I noticed them, and the dad gave me a thumbs up, and the son smiled back at me.  When I turned around to move some spare boxes out of my way they drove off. A few minutes later a couple of teenage girls pulled up and they both looked completely baffled, haha.

The bees at my aunts house were much calmer than mine. I’m hoping there won’t be any trouble from them this year. Here’s a picture of their new setup.



While its technically illegal to have hives this close to the property line, I’m hoping that because my aunt is planting hedges and vines to crawl up the fence, that rule won’t really apply. You’re supposed to have 6 ft tall fences around your property if you have bees, with the theory being that the bees will fly up over the fences and stay out of peoples hair. Its ridiculous if you ask me. That said, having hives right next to a 4 way stop without even a proper fence is a little risky. No one has complained yet though, and hopefully it stays that way!

So, I currently have 3 hives. And I’m going away to college in the fall. I’m so glad to have bees back in my yard though. My garden seemed so empty without them. I honestly don’t know how people can have a garden without bees in it. It’s so boring! My mom later said that she had no idea how much she had missed them as well. Once the bees were installed she said she realized that something really had been missing from our garden after all.  


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2 responses to “And Then There Were Three”

  1. The Honeypotters says :

    Congrats on your new bees! It’s a very exciting time of year, isn’t it:)
    The color of your orange queen is interesting, you’ll have to post a photo if you get the chance.

    • willowbatel says :

      I definitely will! One of the things I don’t like about wearing gloves while I work is that I can’t take pictures. Having someone else there to take them for me isn’t always easy, and its never convenient.

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