Sunday, May 11, 2014


So guess what- the Mad Oswalds have embarked on a new thing.  And that thing is beekeeping!

Waiting for their new home
About 2 months ago the mad second son (who happens to be the new daddy) put in an order for bees for us.  He bought and built the hives and such and basically we were furnished a whole beekeeping setup! The supplies have been here for a while, but we had to wait until today (May 10) to get the bees.  Crazily enough, we picked them up at a little house in Rhinelander.  I was really expecting a little farm, but it was right in town!  Crazy.  Regardless we picked up our two packages of bees that they say contain like 10,000 honey bees a piece!  REALLY crazy to think we had all them in the truck. But they were safely tucked in their little box with their queen in their cages and off we came home.

One of the queens in her cage

A package of bees

We had stopped at the Mexican Restaurant in Rhinelander (yum) and at the Golden Harvest (oh yeah!!) and then to Hansens Honey Farm and then headed home.  When we got home, the first order of business was to start making the sugar syrup, because the bees need food to get their little hives going.  The poor dears need to eat!  So using a one to one ratio of sugar and water, the batches of sugar water was made.  The MA made feeders out of covered gallon bucket by drilling holes in the sides - it is hard to explain, but the little lip on the side of the bucket catches a little syrup and it theoretically doesn't over flow.  Unless the bucket isn't level, but that's another story.  So even if there is plenty to eat around the property (which there isn't right now) they still need this extra nutrition.

Boiling some water

1:1 ratio of water to sugar

Donning the suits
Ok, next, is the issue of getting the bees from Box A and B to Hive A and B.  Now if you are a bee person, forgive my vocabulary.  I just don't know all the right names of stuff. Be forgiving.  SO in essence you have to shake the bees into the brood boxes that have the honey comb things in them.  Trays?  idk.  anyway, there are about 10 that fit into the brood boxes and the bees have their little bees in them, and the queen hangs out there and they begin filling the area with honey to feed everybody.  When the bottom brood box fills up, you have to pop a new one on top before they decide that there is not enough room and they move.  You don't want that.

The cage is to keep the bears out

Putting the package of bees in- calm them by spraying with sugar syrup.

Removing the cork from the queen cage- I was rolling up the little marshmallow that the workers eat through to get to  her.

We took the bees over to the hive and pulled out the feeder can (that was there to keep them fed during their trip from Cali to Wisconsin)  and then take out the little queen cage.  You pop the little cork out and quickly plug up the hole with a tiny marshmallow.  The workers will chew through the marshmallow and release the queen in a day or two.  Enough time for the worker bees to accept her and let her start to get going on her queenly duties.  Which is to lay eggs for more worker bees.

Reassembling the hives

Let the shaking begin

Shaking in the second package of bees to the other hive

So some of the trays of honey comb stuff are taken out so you can get  as many bees as you can
 into the bottom box.  By shaking the little suckers out.  Once a bunch of them are in the box, the MA decided the rest could find their way there, so he laid the package they came in front of the hive.  We then reassembled the hive and put the feeder bucket inside so they can eat.  Then we repeated the process with the second hive.

Sugar syrup bucket- which we have to relevel a few times

By the end of the night, the vast majority of the bees were out of the package and in the hive.  We checked on them a few times and dealt with a leaky bucket (because it wasn't in there level) but the hives were softly humming at sunset.

Bees leaving the package and entering the hive

It was interesting to see a line of bees by the entrance to the hive fanning to cool the place off.  And to see the bees crawling in and out of the restricter we put at the entrance.  This is to keep robber bees out, but we don't have honey in the new hive, so I am not sure why that thing went in.  but oh well.  I didn't do a lot of research on this, I just learned alot by listening and a little quick reading.  I am the official recorder of the hive- but Bob the Barber was there when we hived them- so he took some pictures.  Don't you love the stylish white getups??  The bees were very docile.  It was not worrisome at all to be with them.

It was a fascinating process!

These guys were all lined up fanning outside the entrance 
Who knew there was so much to it all!  So it will be interesting to see what goes on today.  If the queens are out then the queen cage comes out and you leave them alone for a few days- just make sure they are fed.  I am sure I am leaving stuff out, but in essence this was the day!

A new way to find some joy- and some day maybe a little honey!

**A little footnote- we do plan to over winter the bees.

1 comment:

  1. My neighborhood beekeeper refers to her bees as "sweet, little, bees"...