beekeeping

Beekeeping – Year 2, Day 1 – Installing a New Package

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
April 29, 2018
Me in a beesuit

It has been a long day of bee stuff and I really wanted to get this down while all the things are fresh. You see, my bees arrived today and I installed them into their permanent (well, hopefully) home. This post is outside of our normal history and recipe stuff, but I like writing about bees and have done so in the past. This is really just is a reflection of today’s activities in my world of amateur beekeeping.

Adding sugar water to my hive - It is good to give them a head start in the spring and particularly with a new hive.

What Is A Bee Package?

A bee package is literally a package of bees. Typically, I have seen them in 3lb packages and they most often come with a queen. This is what I ordered and what we ordered last year. There are other variations in how to get bees, but I figured for this year, I wanted to keep as much the same as I did last year. When I ordered them, I still had no idea if my bees survived the Winter and was very insecure about my abilities. I still am a bit, but now that they have survived a year, it makes me a bit more confident.

I Am No Professional At This

So, big me has one year under my belt. They survived the winter. Last time I installed a package was a year ago. I was nervous as heck. Sure, the videos all made it look super easy, but reality always seems to be something else. Lord knows how many how-to videos I have watched where something looks like it takes 10 minutes and everything looks super smooth, but my afternoon ends up being shot. Anyhoo, I went into this as a nervous nelly.

The Bees Showed Up Unexpectedly

So, I knew that the bees were shipped from Kelley Beekeeping in Georgia on Saturday, or yesterday. Last year, we went through Mann Lake to order bees and they have been great, but we did have to drive out there to get them. Several big boxes in town offered them directly, via mail, so I decided to give that a try. I ordered them through Runnings in Moorhead, Minnesota. They contract through Kelley.  Sure, I had my reservations. I still have my reservations. But why not give it a try and see what happens? It saves me a whole day of driving and eliminates the costs.

I figured the absolute earliest they would arrive would be on Monday. Nope. Apparently, the post office will call if live stuff shows up on Sunday. The bees have enough food to last for a few days, so they likely would have been fine, but it is always better to get them to a safe place sooner than later. I had actually planned to spend some of my Sunday getting the last few details together and prepped for whatever would happen on Mon, Tues, or maybe even Wednesday.

Out To Cottonwood Cider House

So, I picked up my father-in-law, who wanted to see it happen and we headed out to the farm. We keep our beehives on the edge of the biggest apple orchard in North Dakota, Cottonwood Cider House. They also happen to make the best hard cider in the state! I had been out there once already this year in preparation for the new hive and to check on the other bees, but this was the real deal.

Things Went Well!

When everything was done last year, I remember thinking, “hmm… that was easy.” Well, the same thing happened this year. All the preparation paid off and almost everything went off without a problem. I was able to get the queen out without a problem and get the bees into the hive.

It WAS really windy. I considered delaying the install until Monday, but there was a chance of rain and I have some important stuff going on. So, I figured I was going to just get it done. The wind was not ideal, but the temps were nice.

A Few Bumps

Things went well, but we did have a few bumps in the road.

The Video Package Didn’t Match The Delivered Beehive Package

So, I watched a video from the company I purchased the bees from on how to install the package. I had watched it last year,  but wanted to get refreshed. I figured that since it was the company I bought the package from, I would have a good idea on the specific details of that package. It was still a little off.

Specifically, the queen’s cage was not the same as the video. First, in the video, they had indicated that the queen had a separate tab that could be pulled up. It wasn’t impossible, but just a surprise. Second, it did not seem like there was a candy cork for the queen cage. I brought marshmallows anyways, as I figured it would be a good idea.

The queen bee in a queen cage before she is released into her hive

Either of these things would be easily handled by a pro but made things a bit bumpier for me. Ultimately, there were no obstacles I couldn’t overcome.

Plumber Butt

So, we videotaped the whole thing, which I really didn’t expect to be able to do. Nor did I think I was going to be bending over much. Honestly, I stared at my belt and thought ‘eh… naaaaah.’ SO MUCH BUTT!

Oh, I am still going to share it, butt or not. I just need to figure out how to edit it out or blur it or something.

That is it. A long, exciting day of dealing with bees!

 

You Might Also Like

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Madalaine
    July 9, 2018 at 9:55 am

    This is fascinating! I can’t do chickens where I live, maybe bees… ?

    • Reply
      Ben
      July 9, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      You never know! Check it out. It is fun and great trying to figure out the bees.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.