The Beekeeper's Apprentice Steps Up

Reader Contribution by H2
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When our beekeeper pal Noam called to say he was departing last night for Barcelona (Madrid v Barcelona, compelling reason indeed to travel), he said the timing should still work for him to introduce the new bee colony into Hive 2. Noam came over with apprentice Robyn, who’s been taking classes and was eager for an up-close look at the hives. 

Backing up, Hive 2 didn’t make it through the winter, sad, but nature has her reasons. Most important, there was no apparent disease. The bees seemed to have frozen, though they had honey stores not far away…but perhaps too far to leave the warmth of the colony to retrieve. Yesterday was pick-up day for our new bee family, but delivery was delayed. Noam walked Robyn through the steps just in case she needed to step up. And did she ever.

Robyn rendezvoused last night with Simpsons,kept the bees on her deck, and arrived here todaywith 10,000 Italians in a box.

We suited up and calmed ourselves.

Step 1: slowly remove the feeder can from the carrier top.

Step 2: locate the queen in her tiny chamber and with excruciating gentleness lift her out.

The queen goes in first, to be hung from a tab on her little screened box. What’s this? Looks like a chicken leg, but it’s hundreds of bees who need to move away from their queen so Robyn can hang her on a frame.

Robyn gently runs the encrusted queen chamber against the frame to encourage the girls to release. It worked well. Note the other 9,500 emerging from the carrier box at rear.

Carefully inserting a frame to hold the queen’s cage in position.

Slowly (but like she means it) shaking the bees out of their carrierinto their new home.

Lots of craziness at this point, bees swirling. Robyn has shaken most of the colony into the hive. She sets the carrier aside.

And we step back for a minute while the girls get acclimated.

Placing the remaining frames into position…slowly.

Brushing the edges clear.

And topping the hive.

Robyn’s a natural. A beautiful first effort and elegantly done. Casa de Italians have settled in well. Here’s a vid Robyn shot just after she completed the transfer. For more, come visit us on Facebook

And, Noam, we missed you…but salut! 

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