Thursday, August 16, 2012

Starting with Bees

I picked up my first bees yesterday. I ordered two 5 frame nucs which is short for hive nucleus. It contains a starter hive with a queen, workers, brood, eggs, and whatever they have been building for a short while. I picked up one for me and my father (papa bear). He got me into this whole beekeeping thing, and after he got me interested, I have returned the favor by dragging him along.

I had to drive north to Davie, Florida which is sort of an ag area. My truck is a single cab ranger, which made it difficult to fit the two nucs inside next to me... yes inside with me while driving! Ahhh. The reason being is for the air-conditioning. They can easily over heat. What a scary thought to think them all flying outside of the box while going 70 MPH on I-75.

It took me about an hour to get home. One bee managed to free itself from the box while I was driving and attempted to exit through the passenger window. I thought, "this is the craziest thing I've ever done. I can't believe I am doing this." When I arrived home, I exited my side and then slowly opened to passenger door. The escapee flew up, spiraled, and then took off.

I managed to get home about the time my wife pulled up in which I notified her that the bees were in the truck. I placed my hive body, stand, covers and all in the appropriate place that I have been preparing for weeks and grabbed my bee suit. My wife reviewed the steps to CPR and how to call for emergency help as I suited up and put my boots on. It wasn't exactly what I needed to hear before I took a box of thousands of bees and forced them into a new home.

God bee suits are hot. I cut through and peeled back the tape that seeled the box and opened the lid. Oh man, they flew everywhere. There I stood, in a flurry of bees, when before I would have ran at the sound of a faint buzz. I began to slowly move frame by frame transferring from nuc to hive box. I was sweating like a pig, with a big canvas material jacket on and a screened veil distorting my vision. I still couldn't believe what I was doing.

After placing the cover back on to the hive, I moved over to my dad's nuc to open the entrance at least (our plan is to meet up to, since he lives about 4 hours away on the gulf coast). As I squatted down, I felt a sharp pinch in the back of my calf. "Ouch!" I thought. "Ooooweee," I murmured. They got me! It was my first sting since I was a little kid and after about 30 seconds to a minute the heat, stinging, and sharp pain had subsided. It's funny that it took until the last thing I did, peeling back tape from an entrance and carelessly squatting to get stuck with a stinger. I scurried back into the house to take off my hot bee suit and peered outside out my job well done.

"Oh damn," I thought, I hadn't properly put the cover on the hive box and bees were curiously moving out of the hive.

I'll get that later this morning before work. I had enough excitement for one night. Check out my pics of the event!
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