We did it!!! All but five of our twenty-two new nucs are safely deposited in their colourful new hive boxes in three different locations. That was some awful weather on Saturday, given the task we had set for the day. Ideally, you want a warm, sunny, dry, calm day for transferring hives. What we got was a bitterly cold, overcast, wet and windy day. Yikes. But in the end, the wind was useful. I have never seen bees dive right down into their hives like that! There were very few bees flying angrily around. I didn’t need to worry about them becoming confused about which hive was theirs. We just transferred the frames and dumped the remaining bees from the cardboard boxes into the hives and we were done.
The morning began with a drive to Port Rowan where we picked up our nucs from the Hunt brothers at Hunt’s Honey. They informed us that five of the nucs had lost their queens so they would need another week to build up those nucs for us. So, we carefully loaded seventeen boxes of bees into the back of Dad’s truck. We had to open the windows to allow for ventilation on what seemed to me to be a crazy cold day. But bees throw a ridiculous amount of heat. You could feel it radiating off the boxes. So we took extra care to ensure that they didn’t overheat on the journey. Dad’s truck was loaded with boxes of bees and mine was filled with boxes of hive frames for all the new hives, since we had purchased those from Hunt’s Honey too.
Our first stop was the Book homestead, where ten of our hives are now nestled in the grass. We figured it was best to hit St George first because it meant reducing the stress of ten nucs’ worth of bees right off the bat. Ron and Nancy were excited to watch from the sidelines. It’s so fun to be to doing this with other members of the community this year. This is also the first year that Russ is participating in the actual beekeeping activities. He was all geared up in his Christmas gift beekeeping gear and ready to help out. He also reported his first bee sting, EVER. He didn’t yell or cry, so I am pleased to know that he doesn’t have a huge immune response to stings. It was a bit swollen later, but nothing like the ‘someone just hit me with a baseball bat’ response that I get when stung. Either that, or he is way tougher than I am. Ha!
Then we headed to Princeton where we met up with Milt who was eager to see how we did things because he was preparing to set up his very first, very own beehive the next day. After doing ten at the Book place, we were pros at setting up the three hives that we have in Princeton. We were done tickety boo, but wow, were we ever windblown! Those hives are going to need some special care next fall as we prepare them to overwinter on that cold hill. For now, though, those bees are surrounded by apple trees in full blossom. What a wonderful housewarming gift for them!
Finally, we landed at Devon Acres Organic Farm. There was no one to be seen at the farm so we just went about our business. The ducks and chickens supervised us, noisily, and eventually a cow came up just to see what was going on. She was very curious! We set up just four hives here, since the remaining nucs will have to go in later when Hunt’s Honey lets us know that they are ready. Again, it was quick and easy because the bees had no desire to be out and about. Since then, I’ve heard from Robin at Devon Acres. He says he saw no sign of the bees until this afternoon, because it is now just finally warming up again after our freakishly cold, record-setting weekend weather that even included snow and sleet and frost. Robin reports that the bees are busy in the spring sunshine this afternoon, except for the last three hives. He didn’t think those last three could have absconded quite so quickly, and rightly assumed that I hadn’t put bees in them yet. We will be back to load some bees in those final boxes next weekend.
And that’s it. By this time next week, I hope to report that all our hives are up and running. There are beautiful blossoms at each of our bee yards, so our bees won’t have far to travel to get some nectar as they settle in to their new homes. I can’t wait to pop in and check on the hives in the coming weeks to see how they are doing. I will keep you posted!!! Thanks for joining us on our sweet journey!
Kari Raymer Bishop
Lover of Jesus, cheeses and tropical breezes... seeking balance in life, even as I embrace new challenges and chase new dreams. I am wife, mother, daughter and friend, as well as teacher, entrepreneur, activist, writer, beekeeper and hostess. Come along on the journey through my long-awaited midlife crisis!