Tuesday, April 7, 2009
So, the bees are on their way.
Over the weekend, I painted their hives and am desperately hoping that the rain is melting the snow in the spot where I want to place them so that I can set them up before the packages of bees arrive.
White is the traditional bee hive color because it helps keep the hives cool in the summer sun, but up here in the cold north woods, we can use darker colors to assist the bees in keeping their hives warm. I used a dark red called Fireweed and want to paint whimsical designs of flowers and trailing honeybees and a logo--I'm thinking Beth's Bees.
The hive temperature needs to stay at around 93 degrees and we have very few days where the outside temperature tops that, so in Maine we are more concerned with keeping the bees warm than with keeping them cool. I am especially concerned about them when they arrive on Thursday to temperatures in the 40's and nights in the 30's.
Now for the the scary part. The bees are coming in 3 pound packages--there are about 3500 bees to a pound so that makes about 10,000 bees and I'm starting two hives---so that is 20,000 bees. There will be no gentle introduction to my new hobby as I dump them from their traveling box into the hives. I read the section on Installing Your Colony in my Bee Book and then re-read it and then re-read it again. I really don't think there is any margin of error when working with 20,000 bees for the first time. Then, just when I thought I had the book chapter memorized, I decided to check You-Tube. Well, wouldn't you know there are plenty of videos of people installing their bee packages--some good, some not so good--some cautionary tales, some instructive. I watched them all, some of them several times and now every time that my mind has time for any discretionary wandering--it replays the process of installing the bees over and over and over.
If I surivive the installation and if I can find anyone brave enough to photograph it, I will post pictures on Thursday of my hives.