Friday, May 7, 2010


Our bees finally arrived today! We got two packages of Italian honey bees and are setting up two hives. We made sure to introduce the new members of the family to the pups who seemed to be quite mesmerized by the bees. The bees were very calm and even let our dog Zoe (the black and white one) lick them without stinging her. We sprayed them frequently with sugar water which helped calm them down.

Noah was not quite as sure about the bees as his sister. I wonder if he remembers when he ate a bee at 8 weeks old...

Honey bees are adorable. I was amazed by how calm they were.

Our two hives disassembled ready to take in some bees. The center parts are the brood chambers that go on the bottom of the hive. The queen will live down here and lay eggs. Each hive will get two brood chambers, one that will be more for reproductive purposes and the next level that will be for honey that we leave for the bees to feed themselves. There is a screen that will go between the top brood chamber and the next level, the super, that prevents the queen from getting out. When we harvest honey, we will take it from the supers.

I think I've got that right...

To get the bees into the hive Jeff pried out the above can that was wedged in a hole in the boxes the bees came in. After that was loose he literally poured the bees into their hives. They stuck together and very few were flying around. He probably didn't even need much protective equipment besides some garden gloves.

A couple good whacks to the boxes got most of the bees into the hives.

Pretty crowded in there! It was challenging to take a good picture as we did this around dusk and the bees were constantly vibrating to keep warm.

The queen came in her own little box so that we wouldn't lose her. We stuffed a mini marshmallow into the end of the box so that the other bees could eat her free once they were all tucked away in the hive.

It's not everyday you get to have your picture taken with a queen! The queen was placed into the center of the hive and then everything closed up with a layer of food in the middle.

It took about an hour to get everything done.

Now we're going to go watch some Winnie the Pooh.


  1. How exciting. I am looking forward to hearing more about your adventures with bees. We have talked about doing it ourself off and on over the years but have yet to take the leap....good for you.

    Oh, and I can't believe how far along some of your tomtatoes are...that is really neat. You will have ripe tomatoes before mine are even planted this year.

  2. We are very excited about the bees. I've heard that having bees next to a garden really helps to increase production. I certainly hope we find that to be true. Jeff has kept bees before when he was a kid, and he swears that they are pretty low maintenance. We can't wait to have our own honey, and make some mead! Mmmm.

  3. I saw the honeybees for the first time early last week and thought that one of my neighbors must have a hive. I remember a beekeeper telling me all the Alaska bees are shipped up by passenger plane. Now I'm a bit paranoid when I hear strange sounds on planes.... Congrats on your photo op with the queen.

    Christine in Alaska