These past several days our orchard has been overflowing in a sea of pink, white, and mauve flowers interspersed with touches of green from newly emerging leaves. To say the least, it’s been a bit of blissful heaven for myself and the local honey bees!
My heart is warmed by the fact that I’ve been physically able to work in the orchard, side-by-side with my hubby, with only a few restrictions. This past year has been extremely challenging on many levels, and even just four months ago working in my beloved orchard seemed like an impossible distant dream. I’m thankful for your prayers and God’s healing touch and comfort as he’s carried me through.
Today, nature has forced us to take a break from our gardening chores by literally “raining on our sunshine parade”. Our day and night temperatures have turned a tad chilly again, the skies have darkened and soaked our soil with rain, again. Sigh. I’m certain my fruit trees are enjoying a sip of water.
Since I’m on a “garden break”, I thought I’d share a little news with you. Some time ago, I mentioned that hubby won a nuc of honey bees. OUR BEES HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED! (my apologies for the shout out).
After contacting the beekeeper about a possible delivery date in time for our orchard flower bloom, he decided to give us an established hive of bees. A nuc consists of about 4-5 frames and an established hive can have 8-10 frames. There are a few other differences and pros and cons to both but the explanation is a bit lengthy for today’s post. I’d rather share our new bees with you.
The photo below shows our bee box with five frames inside (two new and three older ones). You can also see four frames hanging outside the box during the placement of the frames. Our new bee hive has a total of 10 frames.
The beekeeper lives about 4 hours away, so he arranged for us to pick up a hive from our local test orchard. Hubby and I met the orchard manager at the orchard gate one evening around 6:00PM to pick up our new hive. By this time, the bees were all nice and tucked away in their hive after their long day’s work making it easier to seal up, handle and transport the hive. Shortly after arriving home that evening with our new bundle of joy(s), hubby placed the hive temporarily on top of our empty bee box which was hunkered down on top of four blocks that he setup and leveled the day before. He made certain that the setup had a slight tilt forward to it to help keep the hive dry in case it rained (like today). We also set out a chicken waterer and filled the trough area with gravel to give the bees something to land on to prevent drowning.
The next morning, I was tasked with slightly nudging the small wood board out a bit to allow a space for the bees to exit and enter the bee hive at their leisure. No, the bees didn’t swarm and attack me as soon as I pried the wood board out. It was very quiet, though I could see some movement inside at the doorway entrance. After completing my task, I went inside the house and came back out an hour or so later to check on the hive. By this time, I could see that a few bees were beginning to venture out and explore their new home and surroundings.
Next came the task of transferring the frames from the orchard’s bee hive box to ours. Hubby suited up and fired up the smoker. The smoker is used to calm the bees before and during the process of opening and inspecting (in our case transferring) the hive. To begin, hubby blew a few long puffs of smoke at the entrance to calm the bees guarding the entrance, then he lifted up one of the corners and blew a couple of long puffs of smoke inside the hive then shut the lid down and waited a minute or so to allow the bees to retreat down deeper into the hive. With the lid off, he blew a couple more puffs of smoke down between the frames then proceeded with the transfer process.
During the transfer, hubby inspected each frame individually before placing them into our bee box.
Starting along one of the outside walls, he lowered each frame gently into place making sure to not squish any of the honey bees and leaving the right amount of space between the wall of the box and between each frame. During his inspection of the frames he tried to locate the queen but was unable to find her. I’m certain he’ll find her during his next inspection.
With the bees now safe and sound in their new home, we just let them do their thing for a week or so being sure to peek over at them every day. They are absolutely loving the orchard and we always see them loaded with pollen when they return to the hive.
The bees are in a temporary location and close to their final spot. After some serious discussions, we’ve decided on their final location (just a few feet away from where they are now). For their final destination, hubby built them a very sturdy stand to set the hive on. This will make it easier for us to keep out unwanted guests like ants and it will help to make caring for our bees less back breaking work. Hubby found the plans on-line and made some revisions to fit our needs. Great job sweetie! The bees are going to love it.
As always, thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great weekend.
P.S. What do you think of my new logo?