Today, We installed bees into our first hives…what an incredible experience!!!
The call came to pick up our nucs (nucleus colony) last week, so we headed out early Friday morning to meet a local beekeeper/supplier. There in his bee yard I watched, feet frozen in place, as he opened a nuc box to show us the bees inside. I didn’t even think to bring my bee suit, but realized in seconds that he didn’t need one either as the bees paid no attention to us at all. Nucs closed back up, we loaded our two colonies of Italian carniolan hybrid bees and headed for the hives. Because of a sudden cold snap with frosts over the weekend, our bee guy recommended we wait to do the transfer until the freeze danger had passed in order to not cause damage to our new bees.
It was a long, impatient weekend, but the weather finally broke and we donned our new suits and veils, lit the smoker, and headed to the hives.
I can hardly describe how surreal it felt when we opened up those nucs and very slowly started moving each frame covered in hundreds, maybe thousands, of bees into the new hive bodies! As I looked down at my gloves covered in bees, I realized that while yes I was nervous I wasn’t actually afraid.. Using a small hand tool to grip each frame, we would lift it up, give it a quick look to try and spot a queen, and gently lower it into the hive body. We didn’t find the queens, but the frames looked good and filled with brood cells like described in many beekeeping books. I had to pause a few times when the buzzing got exceptionally loud just to check that the bees I saw in front of my face were still on the outside of my veil…. Phew!!!!!
I cannot stress enough how good it felt to have a good quality veil between me and the bees. I opted for the jacket and veil that zips and velcros onto the jacket. I know it’s going to happen, but I am happy to report that I didn’t get stung once! Unfortunately, my fellow beekeeper got stung once- but we figure that was still pretty amazing for our first time out.
I am so excited to begin this new adventure!