Monday, April 2, 2012

Back in the Bee Business

Today Adam and I drove to Georgia to pick up five new bee hives. Adam bought them from Don Kuchenmeister, the "Fat Bee Man," at Dixie Bee Supply. Here's his website. I snapped a photo of Adam and Don.

Here are some of his hives. He raises chemical-free small-cell bees. Very natural process. They're not treated with chemicals, as the bees Adam bought last year were. That's one of the things that made last year's bees (which died) weaker. We're hopeful that Don's natural bees will have stronger immune systems, and survive better.

He uses a water feeding system similar to what Adam has used before.
They loaded the five hives in the back of our van, and Don stapled them very securely with thin boards. Then we drove them back home.

Adam is setting up a new system for feeding the bees sugar water this year. The bottles of sugar water are on the outside of the hive, so he can check the level without lifting the roof off the hive and disturbing the hive.

He prepared some of the hives for the new bees. This year, he already had good comb for them to use, which will save these bees about 2 or 3 weeks of work; they can start laying eggs and gathering nectar and pollen, immediately. The dogwood and azaleas are in full bloom, as are the redbuds and wild cherry trees. Adam repaired some of this ragged comb, and the bees will tidy it up.

The idea was to open up the box, and place it down inside the hive box. But the bee boxes were too big, so Adam had to gently shake the bees out of them. There was no other way to get them out, and into the hives.

He'd forgotten his hive brush, so he made an impromptu one with a clump of grass.

Here's our friends' yard, where the bees are presently located. What a lovely setting! I so enjoyed sitting and watching Adam fiddle with his bees. I just had to snap a photo of this place. Don't you love the well on the left?

The bees buzzed around Adam all afternoon. He was only stung twice, and the first time was his fault. These are good, active bees; he's very pleased with them. They immediately started working with the comb. Since they aren't "drugged up," Don says, they are more alert and active right away. Plus, they've only been in these boxes a day or two. Last year's bees, which were shipped from Florida up to NC, had been in their caged boxes for about a week, and more of them died in transit.

It's nice to have active hives again!

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