Oh boy have we had some real adventures getting these bees cozy here on the homefront…
Our buzzing nuke arrive Saturday afternoon, with some 60 other nukes of Canadian, naturally raised honeybees from about 3 hours west of us. The beekeeper delivered them in person and was on hand to answer questions and tell us all about his gentle approach to raising and breeding honeybees. We then took in a couple demonstrations of how to install the nukes into their new home. The nuke’s are actually 4 frames of brood (baby’s and larva), capped honey, nectar, pollen, bees and a queen of course. All of this is settled onto small traditional rectangle frames… which to be installed into a top bar hive, need to be (somewhat brutally) chopped and strung into position to accommodate their new sacred geometry housing.
This process was actually painfully traumatizing for us newbie beekeepers, as we had to literally chop cells of larva and babies in half, all the while new baby bee’s were being born on the frame! I understand that this is far more horrific for us humans than for the bees.
Our first task was opening the box and seeking out our queen, frame by frame. We found her pretty quickly, then moved onto the sticky job I described above, and finally moved the little colony into their stunning new top bar hive. We made a batch of energy boosting “bee tea” with dandelion petals, thyme, nettles and organic cane sugar, and started observing in awe.
Fascinating! What lovely creatures honeybee’s are.
We had our first swarm scare (like new parents) we have been hyper aware of what is normal, and what is alarming, and twice now we have found a buzzing crazy entrance way to the hive. Soon after, we realized (with the help of google) that this was not pre-swarm activity, and thankfully our bee’s were not rejecting their new home… rather it was baby bee flight school! OMG, imagine dozens and dozens of tiny new bee’s taking their maiden flight, all the while working bee’s are coming and going, bringing in huge bulging leg-fulls of bright yellow pollen!
Our garden is even more alive with this ever present group of gentle and beautiful pollinators! It’s hard to keep out of the hive, they are so engrossing. Isis and I have fallen so hard for these bees, I can’t believe it took me so long to make this move.
Anyone considering beekeeping I would strongly recommend exploring top bar hives and holistic bee guardianship. What a rewarding partner in diversity and food security bees are.