Yesterday morning I got the call that I had been waiting for all month long. My bees were in! I went and picked them up at lunch with my wife and daughter. The nuc box was a 4-frame cardboard box with a screen on top and it was humming quietly.

My wife insisted on taking 2 cars because she didn’t trust a box of bees in the same vehicle as our 1-year-old. It was probably a good plan too because at least 3 bees had managed to escape the nuc box on the way home. At home, I put the nuc on my porch in the shade so that it wouldn’t become too hot during the afternoon.

After work, we all drove out to my bee yard, and we set up the hive. I raised the hive off the ground using cinderblocks and made sure it was level. Hives need to be level so that the comb hangs straight and doesn’t run from one frame to the next. After everything was set up, it was time to move those bees from the nuc into my hive.

I have a video of the whole installation, but my wife, with our daughter, was standing about 100 feet away and with a baby in one hand and camera in the other, let’s just say that a tripod may have been a good idea. So to spare you the motion sickness of watching that video, I have opted to provide only still photos above. 😉

After suiting up, I smoked the bees lightly. This actually seemed to upset them a bit and they started buzzing loudly. I opened the nuc and the bees swirled out around me. No turning back now! I slowly pried out the first frame of the nuc and inspected it before putting it in my hive. I did the same with the second frame and noticed a cluster of bees up in one corner. In the centre of the cluster, I spotted the queen! This was a pretty rewarding experience for me because I have heard of beekeepers not finding their queen for quite a few inspections. After that, it was fairly straight forward to place the remaining frames from the nuc into the hive. I ensured that I was placing the frames in the same order and orientation as they were in the nuc, so as to not disturb the internal layout of the hive and the laying pattern that the queen has established.

I filled the rest of the hive body with empty frames and closed everything up. That was that — all done. It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t tucked my pants into my socks. Oh well. The bees were fairly calm and they must have liked me enough to spare me of any stings. I took off my gloves and took some close-up photos while they swirled around. A few landed on my hands, but we were cool with each other.

So overall, a painless (literally) and uneventful install of my first nuc. I wish that I had a better video of the experience and a photo of the queen, but there will be more opportunity for that in the future.

Next steps: Leave the bees alone for a week, then check and make sure that they’re liking their new home and open their entrance a bit wider as their population should increase a bit.

I just got the call from my bee supplier! My bees are in! I’m going to get them in an hour. More to follow…

Boys on a wall, cheering

 

Queen of the Sun DVD cover

My wife and I recently watched a documentary film called Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? This film is so inspiring and informative and I believe everyone should sit down and watch it… tonight. Here is my personal review of Queen of the Sun.

I will start my review by saying: “Watch this film.” Even if you don’t read this entire article, jot down the name of the movie and go watch it. Even if you’re not a beekeeper, go watch this film. Even if you have never heard about Colony Collapse Disorder, Varroa mites or other ailments affecting bees across the globe, go watch this film. You will not regret it.

Queen of the Sun is an extremely powerful documentary that highlights the importance of bees for pollination throughout the world as well as the potential factors that are leading to the disappearance of these same bees.

This film doesn’t focus too much on any single factor that may be contributing to colony collapse disorder but rather presents the viewer with an array of ways that humans have interfered with these wonderful creatures that we rely on for producing 1/3 of all the food that we eat.

Throughout the film, there are also some great interviews with beekeepers from around the world. It’s amazing to see beekeepers from England, Australia, France, Italy and the United States all providing their insight into a global epidemic. It’s also very interesting to see the different types of beehives that each one uses. (Check out the special features on the DVD for more information on each hive type).

At the very end of the film, there are some great tips that I wanted to share here. Here are six ways that you can do your part to help the honeybees in your area:

  1. Grow flowers, plants and herbs to help provide food for bees.
  2. Eliminate pesticides in your garden and lawn.
  3. Bees are thirsty. Provide a continuous shallow basin with clean water in your garden.
  4. Buy directly from a local beekeeper who avoids chemicals and produces raw honey.
  5. Eat organic and pesticide free food.
  6. Become a beekeeper with sustainable practices.

This documentary did not necessarily change my overall views on beekeeping, but it served to open my eyes a bit wider on the subject. I suddenly found that I have become a bit more passionate about bees when talking to others, and I tend to bring up this film frequently when involved in beekeeping conversations. This is a film that I believe everyone should watch.

Purchase the DVD from Amazon:
Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?

Here’s the trailer for Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?

 

 

I recently confirmed the location where I’ll be situating my first bee hive. The location is at an outdoor centre just North-West of Waterloo, ON and about 20 mins from my house. I am friends with the general manager of Outdoor Services there and he is thrilled to have bees on site. My bees will be sandwiched in between a small lake and a huge field of wild flowers. Why did I pick this location? Read on…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Enjoying the afternoon outside and nailing together some frames. 30 down, 30 to go.