We are pleased to announce the arrival of our baby bees to the Darg-Kelvin family! After much anticipation and frustration, yesterday we were able to pick up to nucs or nuclear boxes with a queen and some rather unhappy bees who have travelled a long way; been inspected and then travelled to the farm in the back of a pick up.
We had expected them the previous week but thankfully they weren’t ready as the weather was foul! The week they were ready was amazing weather, this week back to foul! So they arrived in perfect conditions.
There was a bit of an issue as one of the boxes wasn’t sealed well and we had some “escabees”! Naomi sat in the back seat watching the escape, giving us a running commentary of how many were finding the rushing air too much, and ended up blowing off the back of the truck! We had to don our suits as soon as we got home as they formed what is called a beard on the outside of the box and then got a little upset when we shifted them around to their new home. Some settled on Paul’s tool box so we had to take the truck and then the tool box near the garden to try and coax them in to their hive. At this stage we have opted for the traditional box system but will look into investing in a “Honey Flow” hive from Australia, a system that has taken the bee world by storm!
Carol our mentor came to help us set them up which was much appreciated as there was some nervousness regarding certain aspects of setting up and she was like a midwife, guiding our questions and our concerns!
It was very exciting to watch them start to settle into their new boxes. There were 5 frames sent in the nuc and we set up another 5 frames in each box to begin the process of building wax onto and collecting honey to make brood and build their numbers. We have opted for plastic starter frames and it was recommended we give them an extra coat of wax and we also plugged the edges with wax to stop hive beetles hiding in there (a design problem apparently).
We are feeding them a sugar mixture for a few days just to keep them settled. Our flower garden planted around their new home will be amazing but they have so many honeysuckle vines and a local wild violet that is out and blackberry vine flowers and all the flowering trees on 16 acres, we think we won’t have to sugar feed them for too long! I am sure we saw quite a few out already searching for flowers after they spent some time circling around their new home orientating. It is amazing that they circle their area getting their bearings on the hive and then take off within such a short time.
We saw one queen in one hive but not the other. So we have to go back in the next few days and have another look otherwise it can be a little problematic and we will have to get another queen asap.
They also had a little “swimming pool” built for them out of an old bird bath. They need water so we just decided to put the bath close by.
It was fascinating to watch as they settled and started immediately to clean up their new home. We watched as a few came out with the dead bodies of their counterparts, either squashed or perhaps overheated during transit.
“Bring out your dead!” Naomi commented, as we watched them toss them off the side of the hive. We left the transport box as the few stragglers found their way into the hive and cleaned off any useful material on the inside of the little box. They were leaving nothing behind and getting rid of anything that wasn’t productive to the hive!
Three bee lessons from today!
- Stick close to the source. The ride on the wind might be exciting but will soon send you reeling when it picks up speed! Those bees who thought they should look outside of the hive soon found more than they bargained for! Our God is our source of life just as the queen is. Always stick close to where He is regardless of the temptation to experience the “excitement” of the world!
- Stay on top of things! They are not called “busy bees” for nothing. They are always busy, as should we. Not just flapping our wings either but with purpose and vision for what we are doing! They cleaned up the good things, wax, pollen, any thing else that was beneficial to their hive and left the superfluous or potentially harmful things behind! “Get rid of those things that so easily entangle us,” Paul the apostle says! Those dead bodies were immediately tossed. What do I need to toss from my life that is potentially smelly and disease spreading?
- Be prepared! There was no way any of us were going to go near our little bee friends today without the correct clothing. Suits with hoods, to stop them coming up to our faces, every zipper closed and Velcro closed to stop crawling critters as well as leather gloves with elastic to keep them closed. It was soo hot and we looked like space walkers or rappers in Naomi’s case as her suit was too big and her crotch hung down passed her knees, but it is worth the safety factor. Don’t try to walk this life without the proper clothing! Paul again tells us in Ephesians 6 about the armour of God. So many times we become blase about the fight we are in and forget to put on the armour that helps us fight against the enemy. That is a blog in itself…but just a quick reminder we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers!
So we start our journey into keeping bees! I am sure we are going to learn a lot more as we keep pressing on!
Until next time
Be blessed and keep busy