Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bees at Home

Yesterday, I painted the two brood boxes that I bought from Randy and Teresa.  They recommended that I have two brood boxes per hive in preparation for winter.  I'd prepared one brood box and one super so it was necessary to paint the new brood boxes and get them in place as soon as possible.

Today I visited my hives for the first time since unloading them on Friday night.  My task was to put the new brood boxes in place and put the inner covers in place.  Unfortunately, the weather barely cooperated.  It poured rain most of the day, clearing at about 3pm.  At 4:30, after the sun had been out for a bit to dry things up, I lit my smoker and went to the hives to take care of business.

The trip was a success.  I didn't linger or remove any frames.  I just put the boxes on the top, slid the inner covers into place, replaced the outer covers and moved out of range.  While the bees weren't as upset as they had been on Friday night when we'd placed the box, they were not the relaxed bees that I'd seen at Randy and Teresa's.  I also was upset to crush more of them than I had thought necessary.  My use of the smoker was not nearly skilled enough to make the bees do anything and brushing them aside just brought more out in the same place I'd cleared.  I'll be doing more reading about how to handle and manage my bees as I preform necessary tasks.  The next time I open the hive I'll try to do it on a sunny, sunny day at 2pm.  Maybe that will allow me to deal with fewer, more relaxed bees.

I did learn a lot from today's bee time.  I learned that my jacket leaves a lot to be desired as far as function.  The pockets aren't deep enough to hold my gloves, hive tool or long lighter securely.  One deep pocket on each side would be a much better arrangement.  Another feature I'd like on my jacket is a two way zipper that could be unzipped from the bottom and from the top.  It would have been nice to have my jacket opened while I was preparing the smoker and getting ready to approach the hives but because the zipper closes at the top and is covered with a Velcro patch it's tough to zip and unzip once the gloves are on.  I also learned that bringing the lighter and extra fuel for the smoker to the hives is a good idea.  I've got so much to learn about bees and the best way to keep them but I've made a start.

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