We Are Beekeepers

The big day has finally arrived!!!! We got our bees on Saturday! Dad and I drove up to Spokane, went to a demonstration about installing package bees in a hive and then picked up our packages from Tate’s Honey Farm. We picked up 2 packages for ourselves and my cousin Kirby is keeping one hive at our house as well. We drove them home and installed them to wild cheers and applause from our admiring relatives.

The peanut gallery, watching from a safe distance.

There are about 10,000 bees in a 3-lb. package.

Look at these babies! Cute, ain't they?

We give the bees a 1:1 sugar and water syrup to eat.

That's my little cuz Sam supervising me.

Ok, time to open up the packages.

We open up the package with a hive tool and remove the can of sugar water that has fed the bees on their long ride from California.

The queen is in her own little cage, inside the package of bees. The worker bees have fed her through the cage for days to keep her alive while they travel.

Kirby is holding up the queen bee in her cage.

The queen can’t enter the hive just yet. The bees need to get to know her to ensure that she will be accepted into the hive. So now we commence the delicate operation of prying a tiny cork out of the end of the cage and replacing it with a mini marshmallow! The other bees will slowly eat their way through the marshmallow over the next day or two. When they reach the queen she can get out and join the hive.

You must be very careful not to let the queen escape and fly away during this operation. If she gets away, it's all over- you have to sheepishly go buy yourself a new queen.

Then we put the queen’s cage in between a couple of frames.

Next, we dump out the bees in the package!

This part is a bit eerie, but you basically just shake the box and they pour out in an avalanche of little buzzing bodies.

Then Mom got stung on her chin and ran like the dickens. She was in beeg trouble...

...and so the rest of the pictures are from very far away. 🙂

9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    celesta said,

    Hi, I have been checking a couple of times a day to see the BEE story. Loved it, especially after being there to watch.

  2. 2

    Anna said,

    I’m so glad you guys came over! It made it really fun for us :). Plus this will give us a chance to spend a little time with Kirby and hopefully Sam too. See you soon!

  3. 3

    Cheryl said,

    Didn’t Janice have her mask on?? Are the bees staying put? I would love to have been there but, thanks for the great updates.

    • 4

      Jan said,

      There weren’t enough suits to go around, plus I didn’t think the bees would notice me standing there taking pictures….boy did they! A group of them took out after me, got in my hair and wouldn’t leave. They were mad as bees and I can’t blame them after their recent ordeal. They are happily settled in their new digs now and seem very content. They are a joy to watch!

  4. 5

    emma said,

    If bee`s dont see white why are the boxes usually painted white? Exciting project!

    • 6

      Anna said,

      Well I may have misspoken before… It’s not that they literally don’t see it, it’s just that it’s a neutral to them because their natural predators are typically dark colored. They actually don’t see the red end of the spectrum but they do see UV light as a color. Apparently no one knows what that really looks like but sometimes they call it “bee purple.”

      As far as the boxes, they can be whatever color you want, although dark colors might make it too hot inside. White is just simple and cheap for people but I heard of someone who had painted some purple!

  5. 7

    emma said,

    I thought that maybe they use some other senses to find their hive…I saw a video on the local harvest site that showed brightly colored hives…I think I would paint flowers on my bee hives….if I had any 😉

  6. 8

    Taylor said,

    I love that the queen needs to be slowly introduced to the her subjects by them eating a marshmallow barrier. I wish that was how my family found me.

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