Monday, June 7, 2021

T Stands for What's the Buzz

Hi everyone. The heat and humidity has been on here in New Hampshire, and it does feel like summer. My gardens are blooming, and so far we've had a bit of rain to help the drought, hurrah.

Since it is Tuesday, this is my T day post. Be sure to stop by  Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to see what people have been up to.

Last week my honey bees arrived, and I thought today I would share some beeautiful bee photos.

Hopefully this won't freak any of you out. I apologize in advance if any of you get the creepy crawlies. Next week I promise I won't do a T day post on the bees. 

The post office called me just after 7 AM telling me the bees had arrived. Some of you may not know how they ship bees (I didn't before I started learning about them). There are just a few dead ones on the bottom that didn't make it in shipping, but maybe you can see the triangular darker shape in the top middle. That is where most of the living bees are. 

My husband met me at the post office for this above photo. He is very curious, but a little afraid of bees. (Who knew that? I guess there are still things to learn after 32 1/2 years of marriage.) Actually he happened to be going by on his way to work as I arrived so he buzzed in and took a few photos. 

You can see the triangular mass of bees that needed to be put into the hive in this photo.

There would be  over 3000  bees in this mass. The queen is in her own little box in the middle of this swarm, and you can't see her.

I was home alone when I put them into the hive, and it was hard to get a photo of me all garbed up (minus gloves so I could take the photo), so I took a reflection of myself in the sliding door of my house. 

The only problem I had putting the bees in their new home was that the leather bee keeping gloves were a bit too bulky to open up the staples and other closures on the box of bees. I put on my gardening gloves, hoping they would help a bit.  There is a can (like canned food would come in) that is inserted into the package. Once you take that  can out the bees can fly out of the shipping box. 

I did get a sting in each hand when I pulled out this can and the first bees came out. Funny, one hand just got a tiny red bump for maybe an hour, similar to an unscratched mosquito bite bump. My other hand slowly swelled a bit. Nothing to worry over, it wasn't the whole hand but the area where the sting was. And that spot did swell. I guess the stinger must have been in under my skin more.  BUT the interesting thing was my hives (which have been a big issue as of late) disappeared for a couple of days once the swelling went away. I can't be sure it was the bee sting, but it was the only thing that changed, unless my allergy shots and meds just coincidentally decided to kick in at that moment.  I have heard bee venom can be healthy, but it does hurt, so I don't think I would want to keep getting stung. (And yes, I carry an epi-pen injector with me in case of severe allergic reaction, and I had it in my outfit pocket the whole time.) Here's a short online article about Bee venom in case you want to check it out.

After I dumped most of the bees into the hive, I left the box next to the hive so the others that didn't fall into the hive would fly out.  This they did, as you can see in the next photo. They should have all be bonded to the queen so I didn't worry that they would fly away.

The big hole on the top of the box is where the can I mentioned earlier came out.

You can also see my electric fence because as some of you are aware, there are bears in my area.  It wasn't turned on at this point.

You can also see the little concentrated sugar water for food behind the bees. I put this little one out for the bees that were not yet in the hive. I also have a large feeder on the top of the hive. The sugar  water looks brown because 1) it is a 1:1 sugar to water ratio and 2) I used organic unbleached sugar which is a bit more brown in color than the white super processed sugar you most often see.

Although this is not a human drink, it is a sweet bee cocktail , so this is my link to this week's T Day. .

Here's a couple of close ups of some worker bees. I kept trying to get some photos of the worker bees loaded with pollen, as there are some who are coming back with very yellow legs, but so far, no luck taking that photo.

I still find it interesting how bees figure out where to go to look for pollen when they are new to a hive and a new area. I read bees carry a positive charge on tiny sensitive hairs and that flowers have a negative charge that attracts them. I can't imagine that charge is so big however it would attract a bee several feet or even miles away. They also have a fantastic  sense of smell using their antennae. Bees see ultraviolet light so flowers look different to bees than they do to us. The center of the flower will be darker, attracting the bees to it.  I know once bees find a really good pollen source they do little dances ( called the waggle dance) to tell the others where to go get it.  If you are interested you can read about it here: Frank the Beeman, How Bees Find Food.

This past Saturday I went in to the hive to see if the queen was able to get out of her shipping box. The apiary I ordered my bees from told me to check after 3-5 days. My husband was brave and curious enough to walk down close to the hive. He took a couple of photos.

Everything looks good inside the hive. This photo was taken at only  4 days so I'm not surprised there wasn't a lot of activity on all of the frames yet, just busy bees.

The queen was not out of her box so I had to pop out the candy cork so she could be released.

I removed a screen from the box after the queen had been released.

My husband also got this fabulous (Ha-ha) shot of my backside as I worked on the hive. Can you tell I am pretty short from the photo? As I add more boxes to my hive I am going to need to bring my stepladder out.

Hope you enjoyed all the buzz about my bees. 
Have a great T day and thanks for visiting.


Linda Kunsman said...

I found it all to be fascinating Erika!! I think bee keeping is wonderful but too costly for me - not to mention the fact that my hubby is not so fond of them either;) Thanks for sharing, and keep us posted on the progress! Happy T day!

kathyinozarks said...

Yes I enjoyed your post very much-took me back to when we had our hives too-you will love the honey and the wax etc-great pollinators for your garden and flowers too. I got too nervous in my bee suit while helping my husband-who is very allergic to bee stings-so he sent me out-
very exciting Happy T wishes Kathy

Mae Travels said...

Keeping bees is quite an endeavor! I’m surprised that they are allowed in the post office stream of packages for delivery.
best... mae at

Iris Flavia said...

You luckily always learn new things.
Boy, am I "sick" of Ingo´s old stories and finding out something new is fun!

3000 bees. I´m with your Hubby.

Wow. You.Are.Brave.
And clever :-)
Got a sting once - it was my fault and the bee sadly died.
And yes, it hurt. Big.

Your bee cocktail sure is THE BEST.
And you are a pro! Great last pic, please keep updates and a happy T-... Bee-Day to you xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

How exciting to see the bees in action and in transit to your home. What an amazing post. You are lucky to live in the country, because you have the room to start a bee "farm." I'm not sure my city would even allow me to keep bees, so I'll just enjoy updates from you every so often. Thanks for sharing this process AND your suit with us, along with the bee water for T this Tuesday, dear Erika.

Valerie-Jael said...

Your bees are fascinating, they're keeping you busy for sure. I hope all goes well with them, it looks very exciting. Have fun and stay safe, hopefully no more stings! And keep showing the pics! Happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

nwilliams6 said...

Totally amazing and you are so brave. I am impressed with all the stuff and knowledge you have, Erika. Your outfit looks fun and glad you have the "just in case pen." Very fun post and happy T-day!

J said...

Erika I loved reading about your bees, there’s so much more to keeping them than you think, I would be a little scared, I’ve only been stung once, trying to save a wasp from the pool, it was sooo painful! Won’t do that again.
Cant wait to see when you have honey, do you have a centrifugal gadget to get it out of the honeycomb? That’s my problem not tall enough without a stool to stand on, LOL
Happy T Day

Lisca said...

Fascinating! Keep them coming, those posts about your bees! I love it. I have also been thinking of having bees, but after reading how complicated it is, I decided to try chickens first. But beekeeping is definitely on the program.
Thank you so much for a most interesting post and I'd love to see more.
Happy T-Day,

Divers and Sundry said...

I'm fascinated by your bees and look forward to more and more :) Will you plant flowers/plants specifically for them?

Happy T Tuesday!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Well Yes, I did get a buzz from seeing your bees. They are such fascinating creatures - one of our hedges here was covered in bees last week, several days running but some folk were nervous about them - we came back with our shopping today and the hedge has been cut, still some bees there though - hurray!! It hasn't bothered us in the least as the bees were far to interested in the tiny flowers than us! Good Luck with the honey! Happy T Day. Hugs, Chrisx

Let's Art Journal said...

What a wonderful post! So lovely to see them all settled into their new home, I loved reading about them and seeing your photos - thanks for sharing 😀. Enjoy and happy T Day! Hugs, Jo x

Lowcarb team member said...

What an interesting post.
Yes, I certainly did enjoy 'all the buzz about your bees', thank you.

All the best Jan

Kate Yetter said...

I just loved hearing all about your bees. I did some research as I was/am very interested in this. You really shared a lot of information that I didn't know. I read more about keeping the hive and collecting the honey. I will have to check out those articles that you linked too. I can't wait to hear about how this venture progresses.
Happy Tea Day,

DVArtist said...

OOhhhh I absolutely love this post. I have been waiting for you to receive your bees. Thank you so much for sharing this event. I have been doing everything I can to attract bees to my garden, but we never see honey bees any more and only 1 or 2 bumble bees during the summer. Can't wait to see your next post on the bees. Have a great day.

Jackie McGuinness said...

Very brave of you! I just mentioned yesterday that our condo should do a bee garden.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I enjoyed seeing your bees and reading about them, Erika, but this bee raising hobby is definitely not for me. Glad that the stings were not serious and hopefully there won't be repeats (wishful hoping?)

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

What a fantastic post Erika, I loved seeing you settle the Bee's into their new home. I know some people really do not like Bee's but if they understood the invaluable work they do in our world i'm sure they would like them a lot more. You're doing a fabulous job Erika and you got a new outfit out of it too hee hee you wear it very well. Wishing you every success with them and hope they make it their home very soon. They will soon map out their route and busy themselves, fabulous little pollinators. Hugs Tracey xx