our honey bees have arrived! this is what they looked like when we picked them up. the main lady from our local bee club took bee orders a month of two ago, then drove to Utah to pick up about 100 bee boxes. we purchased 3 hives, and picked up 3 other hives for a friend who was out of town.the photo above is when they had just arrived and were in the warm sun. the photo below is our friend's bees that spent the night in our garage until he arrived home the next day to pick them up. I thought it was amazing how the bees clumped together, in a form similar to the shape of a top bar honeycomb they create, to keep warm. a few bees got out and still tried to clump with the hive to stay warm through the night.
we got our bees in their bee boxes as soon as we could. my poor hubby spent hours and hours to construct our bee boxes. they are quite expensive to purchase online so we thought we would build them ourselves. we went with top bar because it seems more natural to us, and much simpler/cheaper to harvest honey and wax than a langstroth hive.
the photo below is shows the box that the bees arrived in, placed inside of the bee box. our friend told us to do this and let the bees come out on their own....this did NOT work. after one night, they had begun forming comb inside of this box, rather than on the top bars we had so thoughtfully rubbed with beeswax before their arrival, trying to entice them to begin their combs in the proper place. anyways, we had to go back and dump the bees out of this box and into the bee hive. the bees were a bit pissed at us about this, but with our hats and gloves, we didn't get stung at all.
below is the photo of my husband dumping the bees out into the top bar.
we came back the following morning to check the bees and make sure they hadn't left. we also had to release the queens. for anyone new to bees, each hive needs a queen. the queen comes in a small box to keep her separate from other bees. usually, there is a type of candy in her box that she eats through, and other bees eat through on their side, so that she is released after a few days when the hive has started making a home. in our case, we popped the cork of the queen box and expected there to be candy inside to prevent the queen from escaping...not so. no candy, so the queen flew away into the dusk of the night. woops. no queen means the hive would have left the following morning. luckily, the head of the bee club had a few extras. we got another queen that night and put her inside the top bar hive, left in the box. the next day, we released her inside the hive where the bees were surrounding her. it turns out, none of the queen boxes had candy inside, so many people with this shipment lost their queens just like we did. we lucked out getting a 2nd one.
the day we released the queen, the bees were already hard at work.
below is a photo looking inside the hive that had been there for almost 2 weeks. we had been having quite a bit of wind and some rain so we left them alone to do their business for a bit. when we checked on them, we were quite surprised to see all their progress!
this is just one bar on one hive. we looked inside and they are working on quite a few bars on one end, then working towards the other end of the hive. after 2 weeks, it appears that they are making comb on about 5 bars.
below is a picture of our 3 hives on our property. we put up electric fencing and are using a solar power battery charger. it is working great and will definitely keep all the bears away. we had a lot of bear action in our area last year, though we didn't personally have any issues. but bears love honey and apparently we have a bear living right in our little valley under a tree. we haven't seen her except at night so I don't have any photos.
oh, and one little shot of the sheep loving each other. :)