The last week of March was when our empty hives finally were filled with bees!
At first we had planned to buy a nuc from a beekeeping friend we met when we responded to a craigslist ad advertising treatment-free raw honey. Bob was really nice and is a true lover of honeybees. He often does bee removals, which is how he gets some of his colonies. He had put together a few nucs to sell, and we were planning on starting outs with a couple of his nucs.
It goes to show "you never know about bees" (Pooh quote :))
The day before I called him to confirm a date to pick up our nucs, ALL his bees had disappeared. All but a few in one hive. He was gobsmacked. And obviously we had to find another source.
Again with craigslist, there was a lead that we followed. We bought two 5-frame nucs from a local beekeeper (commercial) and it included delivery and installation. They were to be delivered in two days and we had not prepared a base to put under the hives yet. So we scrambled to Lowe's and bought some concrete blocks and other stuff, but only ended up using the concrete block. I basically stacked them two high and made a solid platform for the hives, since they still seemed a little wobbly when I tried them just on two smaller stacks of blocks. We may figure something else out later down the road, but nothing is going to be pushing these over for now.
And late one Thursday afternoon, Kyle arrived with our bees!
These are the pics of his installing them, along with his assistant. He had enclosed the queens in cages, and they were already proven queens and were with the specific nuc in which they'd already been raising brood. The queen cages were attached between two frames of brood and were released (again) by the bees outside the cage eating their way through a sugar plug to free the queen(s). The 5 frames were installed and the additional empty frames added to the sides to make two hives with 10 frames each. The foundation we went with this time was the black ritecell plastic foundation coated with some beeswax, per Bob's recommendation and several other local beeks. Next time around, we may go with honey super cell, but as far as cost went, this time we could afford the other.
Next installment soon...on the learning curve of the beekeeper (us!!)...and how I came to understand what orientation flights really were...ha!
We are loving these little fuzzy flying ladies...they are a joy!!