Steve (Hubby) received his first colony of bees in the mail (yes, you read that right) this week. So, now he has to feed them (sugar water) until it gets warm enough for them to go out on their own. It’s been down below 40 for a few days, so they would rather hang around the hive than venture out too far.
The other day we both donned our bee “outfits” and went to try to locate the queen that was sent in a cute little plastic tube. First, Steve had to smoke them some to hopefully calm them. It seems to subdue them enough to get close without any trouble. Well, we found the empty tube---so the queen was probably somewhere in the midst of all those bees. She was marked in white, but we still didn’t see her there and we didn’t want to go probing too much into the swarm. Mad bees are no fun.
Actually the hive is supposed to be undisturbed for about a week to give the bees time to settle in with the queen. They go through an enormous amount of sugar water in a day. When they can begin to produce honey, then we can quit with the sugar water until winter (or fall?). After this colony is going strong, Steve may transfer it to a more distant location (an empty field) where the bees can fulfill their jobs without a big commute. We’ve found that as long as you avoid their “beeline,” they basically don’t bother you. One just has to remain calm and move slowly when around them---no swatting or flailing allowed.