Well, the bees survived their trip north and I survived our first date.
The hives are going to be at my parents' place in Sumner. They have lots of room, extensive flower and vegetable gardens, a fish pond and hundreds of acres of woods. So, after the bees were delivered to my house in Dixfield, I put their box into the back seat of my car and drove the 15 minutes to their new home.
Charlie and Archie were still at school and my mom was taking a nap, so my Dad and I were on our own for this adventure.
First we set up a "super" which is a box that contains the frames and base for the bees to build their combs on. We had put it all together in his basement over the last few weeks, but the snow just melted enough today to get things set up.
After we got the supers situated and got all of the equipment ready, I brought the bees down. Please note the duct tape stuck onto my shirt. I wanted to be totally prepared and you never know when a piece of duct tape is going to be necessary--so I wanted it handy--it is kind of a fashion statement in Maine to wear duct tape, but that's not why I did it.
Once I got my veil on, I opened up the first box and removed the small box that contained the queen. There was a queen bee and two attendants in the small box and it was plugged with a piece of soft candy. I poked two or three holes in the candy with a nail and then with a rubber band attached the queen box to one of the frames in my super. The worker bees should get the queen out within two or three days.
Once the queen was secured into the super, I removed a couple of frames and shook the rest of the bees in. Most of them just fell right into the super and then I carefully replaced the frames without squishing anybody and placed the box next to the entrance of the super. The bees who remained in the box immediately started marching in attracted by the strong pheramones from their queen.
It went much better than I expected it to. The hard part will be leaving them alone for the next day or two. On Sunday, I plan to check and make sure that the queen is out of her box, if not I will assist and get her out.
There were so many interesting observations in this first experience. There were probably a dozen bees from each box that were on the outside of the box but they didn't fly around, they stayed as close as they could to their own cluster. They were also surprisingly gentle and soft. I think that we are going to have a happy relationship my bees and I.