Beekeeping Bees Hive Maintainance

Picking Up the New Girls

Yesterday, a friend and I made the 3-plus hour trip to Brewster, New York to pick up our bees.  Finally, the weather had warmed up enough and our bees were ready to come home.  We began our journey after lunch and did not arrive home until after Midnight.  When we arrived in Brewster, we had to wait until 7:30 pm for our new bees to come home for the evening.  We were scheduled to pick up five nucs.

Nucs are like little colonies complete with a queen, honey, brood (babies), and an assortment of various worker bees.  The colony has accepted the queen and it is already established.  A nuc hive is inserted into an empty full size hive.  The frames are removed from the nuc and placed in the new hive.  The nuc has now turned into a regular beehive with plenty of room to grow.  In some ways, this is much more appealing than ordering a package.  It also has it’s disadvantages too.  In the end, it is all a matter of personal preference.

As we finally met up with the owner of the apiary and got back into the car to drive to where the nucs were located, I could feel something wet against my arm.  Oh for goodness sake, I had forgotten Oyster Cracker’s egg from the morning in my pocket.  It had now cracked as I climbed in the seat.  Amazingly, it had survived the past 12 hours unharmed.  I removed my coat and placed it in the back of the SUV.  The sun was quickly setting, as we finished up picking up the 5 nucs, wrapping them in mesh bags, and loading up the car.  We still had a long drive home.  Before, we left, we asked the owner of the apiary if he thought we should wear our veils home.  He said, “No, those mesh bags are like Fort Knox, nothing is getting out of there.”  Boy was he wrong.

All the way driving home we could hear the bees buzzing in the back.  It wasn’t until about an hour from home that I could feel something crawling up my leg into my jeans.  I tried to ignore it.  Maybe I just had the heebee jeebies.  Oh, no.  It wasn’t.  A couple of bees were in my pant leg.  Calmly and rationally, I exited the highway and pulled into a large brightly lit Lowe’s parking lot.  I delicately got out of the car and popped the back hatch open with the button up front.  Meanwhile, my friend put on her veil and gloves.  She quickly took a peek at the nucs.  My suspicions were right.  Some bees had escaped and three of the mesh bags were filling with bees.  I had to get my pants off.  So, there we were in the middle of the Lowe’s parking lot with my friend gingerly pulling my jeans off.  Within a few moments the mission was accomplished.  I had not been stung, but I was standing in the middle of the Lowe’s parking lot in my shirt and underwear.  My pants were full of bees and my coat was full of Oyster Cracker’s broken egg.

Thankfully, I had an entire bee suit, so there I was, driving home donning even the veil and gloves. I just wanted to get home.  Around 1am, I pulled into my driveway.  I was exhausted, but I still had more to do.  I grabbed each nuc from the back of my car and placed them each on top of their new hives waiting for them in the yard.  The nucs were buzzing.  I could feel the bees bouncing against the sides of the nuc boxes.  Bees were also filling the mesh bag.  All I could think was, what did I get myself into?  I carefully slid the nucs out of their “Fort Knox” and then I had to do what I feared the worst –  remove the plugs from the nucs to immediately let the bees out.  I took a deep breath, and unplugged them.  Bees began to emerge from the box. Strangely, they wanted nothing to do with me.  I think they were more interested in getting some fresh air.  Not one came after me.

I returned to the car and locked it up.  I removed my bee keeping suit and placed my jacket covered in dry sticky egg in the wash.  I climbed into bed at 1:15am.  Somehow, I could not sleep.  Even though I was exhausted, I could not wait to wake up and say good morning to my new bees, all 40,000 of them.

To Be Continued…click here for the rest of the story.

The next day,  putting the nucs in the hives

Photo Credit:  Mr. Tilly’s Nest

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