This morning we headed down to Wilkes-Barre and got in line with quite a few other people there to pick up bees. I can't say enough good things about Mann Lake; they were really helpful and the shop has a mind blowing selection of supplies. It was very exciting but also very nerve wracking because that's a lot of stinging insects, all at once. And we were expecting a box. The kind with solid sides and maybe some tape. Or a lot of tape. A secure bee containment facility. And then Adam was handed this:
That is some very thin pine wood and window screen holding in three pounds of bees. That is also the face of a man who is both thrilled and a little bit terrified to be holding three pounds of bees.
We got them home ok, although that was one of the scariest drives ever. While no one ever wants to be rear ended, you really, really, really don't want to be rear ended with a box of bees in the back of the SUV.
We were really lucky that a coworker of Adam's sister had raised bees with her husband, so he came over to give us a hand and help get them settled into the hive. Being able to get some lessons from someone with firsthand experience was priceless.
First they got into protective gear. (You'll notice Niobe watching from the hill the whole time. Yaks are a nosy and judgy audience.)
The the box was opened and the queen was removed and carefully placed inside.
The bees were dumped into the hive. Really. Dumped. It's a very concerning process to watch, even from far away, but our mentor did it like it was no big thing. Pro.
The bees are brushed down into the hive so that the next layer and the food can be placed on. Because they're starting from scratch, we have to make sure they have enough food and water to get established.
And then the lid goes on.
There were quite a few bees still outside the hive when the lid went on, and we were convinced that they would never find the small opening in the front that they use as a door. Our mentor kept reassuring us that they had the scent of their queen and would find their way in and sure enough, within twenty minutes everyone had gotten inside. It's pretty incredible to watch them. They were actually amazingly calm during the process. Adam didn't get stung once!