I have been looking for small cell Honey Bees raised here in Florida and was referred to Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries. Anarchyapiaries.org It’s a very interesting read if you are interested in a back yard hive of your own.
We drove to Vero Beach, FL and picked up 2 packages. He also supplied me with a frame of honey for the Langstroth hive and 2 for the Top Bar Hive. They are natural comb…not commercial wax foundation.
When we got home, I set things up…checked to make sure I had all my equipment. I did wear a white long sleeve jacket and a veil but no gloves.
I had my camera outside and didn’t realize Jim was snapping pictures. So glad he did. I do most of the picture taking for the blogs and usually behind the camera, not in front of it. Kind of nice to see me at work….or is it play? Definitely play! I love these little gals.
I set one package of bees in the Langs hive while I installed these in the Top Bar. I had originally ordered one package and was having trouble deciding which hive to put them in. Jim came up with the perfect solution….order another….so I did. I called Sam and left a message that I would like a second one…giving him very little notice…but he managed to get the second one for me.
I got the package open….shook the bees into the hive…..that was the easy part. It took awhile to get the bars in place without squashing any bees.
As they went inside I carefully closed the gaps in the bars.
Once I got several in place I walked away for a few minutes and let them settle down.
The two bars that have most of the bees on them are the 2 Sam gave me that has comb and honey on them. The bees stayed close to them and eventually went down on them.
The box they came in is sitting on the chair with the screen for them to climb up to the hive.
All the bars are in place. I have screen over them to help keep wax moths out. The top is leaning against the tree on the right. Most of them are in the hive or on the front at this point.
I removed the box, rinsed it off and stored it in a shed where the bees wouldn’t be attracted to the queen’s scent, if there was any left in it.
I let them settle awhile then installed the other package into the Langs hive.
There are spaces between these frames so I was able to put them all in place and then wait until the bees went down.
The inner cover goes on next and then the top. The inner cover is necessary because the Honey Bees would glue the top down and there would be no way to get it off since it sits down over the box.
I put sticks in to reduce the size of the entrance so they wouldn’t have so much area to defend if robber bees showed up. I think there is a hive nearby. I don’t know if they are managed bees or a feral hive, but my Bottlebrush bushes have been humming with bees lately. My friends, George and Debbie live a few miles down the road and have 2 hives of their own, but they have more Bottlebrush than I do and there is a nursery even closer to them with lots more so I don’t think it is their bees.
I was hoping to attract a swarm but didn’t want to miss out on a chance to have small cell Honey Bees and had to get them while they were available.
Once the hive is stronger I’ll remove the reducers and give them more access.
The Queens come in a small cage with a cap on it….under the cap is a bit of sugar candy that the bees will eat away and release her. This gives the bees time to get used to her pheromones (scent) and accept her as their Queen.
I forgot to take the cap off the one in the Top Bar Hive. I had received a message from Sam reminding me to remove it…..so did the Langs right the first time. Had to open the TBH….reach in ….get the Queen Cage and remove the cap. It’s a bit intimidating to reach down in thousands of bees and pick up their Queen….but they didn’t mind a bit. I got the cap off and the bars back in place without any trouble. Not one sting.
I will check the cages in a few days to be sure they have been released.
I did get 3 stings during the TBH install. My fault. I closed my hand with one in it…sting on the palm. Pinched one between my knuckle and a bar….sting on the knuckle….and did the same to another with the middle finger…sting . I have a few fat places on my right hand. Guess I need to start using my L so they can match.
Looking in the window of the TBH shortly after it was closed up.
This morning it was pretty cold….and they were all clustered around the comb.
I shined a flashlight in and I believe the Queen Cage is empty. Hope they didn’t get her out too soon.
I hope they are all over the comb like that because she is happily laying.
Anybody see a Queen?
I’ll be perched in my chair watching…hoping to see her. They are so interesting. I could watch them for hours. Guess I need a “Bee Cam”. Something else to research.