One of the ways that a beekeeper starts new hives is to order “packages” of bees, and I mentioned in last week’s newsletter that I received four packages of bees, and that they had been installed in four hives, thus replacing the bees that I had lost last fall.
A package contains three pounds of bees, or about 10,000 worker bees. Inside the wooden crate is a smaller wooden box that contains a queen. The queen has to be separated from the rest of the hive like this until she is “accepted” as queen by the other bees. This takes a few days, and she is eventually released and starts doing her queen duties — laying eggs for the survival of the hive.
Getting the bees into the hive boxes is a process that actually is a lot of fun — although it can be a bit scary the first time you do it. It involves opening the box and then shaking the bees into the hive. The queen box has to be placed in separately and with some care. Several years ago, I did a video of this process so you can see exactly what it all looks like. Here’s the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmHFjyYO0cE
The bees are now in their hives, the queens have been released, and the crimson clover is starting to bloom. So all is normal and going well.
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