A Bees Kind of Day

My poor Amie. For months she and her orchestra colleagues worked on four pieces for her concert at Jordan Hall today. On Friday she had the sniffles, on Saturday she went rapidly downhill, and this morning it was obvious she couldn’t go. She spent the day in bed, reading, watching Youtube and napping.

In the morning I went to pick up my package of bees from my bee supplier, who gets them in Georgia. He drives down there with a trailer, brings back a thousand or so packages (10.000 bees each). After driving around with live bees most of the day, I can only imagine the stress when taking a tight bend. Anyhoo, weather and high winter losses slowed bee production considerably, so Rossman Apiaries in Georgia hasn’t been able to keep up with demand. The package pickup was delayed three times until today, the worst of all days, of course, what with the concert in the Big Town looming. But off I went, brought home one package with 10.000 bees and a marked (Italian) queen as well as a small box with an extra queen (a Carniolan) and some attendants.


Amie checks on the Carniolan Queen


The right-most bee is the queen. Carniolans are darker. The white stuff is the sugar plug, which the bees will have to eat through to get to her, initially to kill her, because she’s not their queen, but by the time they’ve eaten through, her pheromone should have conquered them, and they’ll accept her (hopefully).

First I installed the package (“hived the bees“) which took me half an hour.  Then, seeing as I wasn’t going anywhere, I went into the strong hive and stole three of its most valuable frames, i.e., frames with capped brood plus all the bees that are on it (but make sure the queen’s not). I also took two frames of honey and pollen. Stuck all of these in a box, sealed it. Drove it more than 2 miles away to a friends’ yard, where I set up a hive box, installed the new queen, then transferred the frames and (unhappy) bees and supplemented with more drawn out, empty frames. That’s a split! Soon I’ll be back to three hives.


My friends’ place is like a spa for overworked bees, though of course they still get to work. I’ll collect them in two or three weeks time and move them back to the ole homestead.

On my way home (finally in a bee-less car) I smiled, driving past the Library, because of this:


I live in such a bee-loving town! The speaker is me, by the way. Wait a moment, it’s the day after tomorrow!?!

Then I am also dealing with a broody hen. I’ll write about that tomorrow, because it requires pictures and it’s too dark to take any now.

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