Friday, May 15, 2015

The Devil's In The Details

After I had made my hive, and after I had ordered my bees, it occurred to me that perhaps I should order some beekeeping equipment. Not being a planner, I had failed to do that. Back to Googling!
I ordered a smoker and a beekeeper's suit with a veil. Not being a regular Amazon shopper, I failed to notice that the items were coming from different places. I had inadvertently picked a suit that was coming from China and would be here in June. Woah!

I got my metal beekeeping hive tool, and my smoker. That's when I investigated and found that the suit would be late. However, I did know, from watching videos online, that when first installing bees, one didn't really need a beekeeping suit. Why? From what I understood, packaged bees are taken from their hive and shipped hundreds of miles in a small box. They have a new queen in a private cage hanging from the top of the package. Everything is upended, and they are confused. They have no hive, they have no honey. They have nothing to defend. So, they don't sting.

I had watched enough YouTube videos to know that in their confused condition, you could handle a new package of bees without any special clothing. I figured if my suit didn't come in time for my bee installation, it would be just fine.

 Trying to play catch-up due to my lack of planning, I started to be concerned that I would have to feed my bees some sugar water for awhile after they arrived. Perhaps there was no "nectar flow" going on now in Missouri. What did I know. I researched nectar flow in Missouri and didn't find much, except one old blog that said there was no nectar flow in Missouri in July or August. I had seen some people use jars to feed bees so I decided to make a jar feeder.

I made a frame to raise the jars above the top hive bars. I wanted the bees to have access, and not just between the bars, but clear access to all the holes. The holes were drilled into the plastic caps of glass jars. I made a tray of wood with four circles cut out that the jars could sit in upside down. I had seen videos showing that the surface tension of the water and the vacuum above the fluid would prevent the sugar water from pouring out all at once.

I got the tray finished and took a utility knife and scratched the surface of the plastic lids until they were really rough. The bees need little toe holds to hang on to while they suck up the liquid sugar juice. I had to make sure the tray fit inside one of my Warre hive boxes. Had to do some cutting to make the tray fit. And it need to go in smoothly, because when the bees are being installed you want it to work.

I think I'm doing good. I have some equipment ordered. Some of it will come soon, some God knows when! All I know is I apparently don't need permission to play with bees. I mention beekeeping at work and everyone thinks I'm nuts. No one knows anyone who does that. People have scary thoughts when it comes to bees. They scared me too.

Well, I thought about it and I decided I just wasn't going to be scared. I have been good all my life, why not take a risk with this? I'll deal with the consequences. 

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