Bees in a Bag

Three weeks ago we hived two new packages of bees from BeeWeaver Apiaries. The weather here has been unseasonably cool and rainy – even for Downeast Maine – but the bees are thriving.

two hives

There were a few dozen bees left in the box after I installed them, so I bagged the delivery box and stored in our hoop house to give them a fighting chance to make it through the cold, rainy night. The next morning I set the box down near the hives and slit the front open. Bees spilled out almost immediately and it looked like they were headed to their new homes (that’s the black garbage bag to the right of the hives in this photo).

two hives and a bag

I admit it might have been asking for trouble to leave the bag sitting there until Saturday. I have a day job, OK? Cut a girl some slack. When I came to dispose of the bag and empty packages I found that bees had moved in and started building comb. The bag was FULL of bees, lots of traffic in and out, loud buzzing, the works. They weren’t happy with me for trying to pick up their new home so I didn’t get a good photo, but you can see a patch of lovely golden comb in the bag’s opening. I’d estimate the bag weighed 5 -7 lbs.

bag o bees

I put together a new hive box, waited till late afternoon when everyone was home, and installed them (bag and all) into the new location – making sure they were oriented the same way. We’ve had another few days of rain but today, in the bright sun, there is heavy traffic in and out of the hive. They are friendly and social and don’t seem to be testy at all – a good sign since I don’t know this colony. The neighborhood children who named the other hives “Avocado” and “MilknHoney” have named this one “Surprise!”.

new home

The 2012 dandelion crop is spectacular.

dandelion harvest

There was a bee on every flower. Plenty of bee fodder in the alpine bed too: heaths, heather, and rockcress.

alpines heath heather rockcress

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