Bees:Deux

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Eleven days ago, after daytime preparation,  we rehived the new package of bees early in the evening.  First we put the queen cage in and left the plug exposed so the bees could eat her out.  Put the two fondant screens in, then the box, minus lid and can, and closed up the hive.  Left the bees for 4 hours, and when we went back most of the bees had left the box so we only had to shake out those who were left.  Closed up the hive and left the syrup on top.  Checked the next day to see where the queen was, and her cage was empty so we removed it.

Afterward we didn’t go to the hive for about four days, and then on the fourth day toward the evening it looked like ALL the bees had clustered outside the hive above the entrance hole. Called our beekeeping neighbour who had a few ideas, one of which was that they were getting ready to swarm (oh no, thinks I, not again!!!).  He suggested we put them back in but to rub peach leaves on the insides first.  . . . he swears that the smell keeps them hived.  He also suggested we put a board on the screen bottom incase it was too cool inside.  Off we went to our woodworking neighbour, (yes, we have awesome neighbours:0) who cut us a board.  Then we gathered peach leaves off the tree.  When Michael got home we were all ready.

Opened up the hive, it was empty since the bees were all clustered outside, but there was a bit of comb in the back.  Wootwoot!  Rubbed the peach leaves all over (it smells great) and covered the screen with the peached up board.  Then Michael scooted the whole cluster of bees onto a piece of cardboard and put them back into the hive.  Closed it up again and so far we’ve seen them coming and going, so we’re hoping it’s all good inside and the peach leaves and board are keeping them there.

Learning these bees is pretty interesting, and I’m still wondering what they were doing outside . . .  did the dog disturb the hive trying to get to the syrup, so they evacuated temporarily?  Was it the open bottom?  Maybe they were having a gathering of bees on their front porch?  Were they hanging out for a queen bee and drone mating ritual?  The last one is my favorite idea, I like the thought of the whole hive gathering to watch the queen fly way up to mate with the drones, then usher her back into the hive to lay all those eggs . . . . though if that was the case, we were party poopers busting up their party!!  What was it they were doing??? . .  .. .

:::Three months later:::they swarmed again!! This time they told us something:: it wasn’t for want of food.  The pine pollen was enough for them as was what we’d added; it was however the location . . . . ideal as it seemed to our human eyes when hiving, a few months later it was too overgrown and shaded to be comfortable for bees.  There are two hives worth of bees in the woods somewhere, hopefully thriving and happy in their new homes built from scratch.  We’re going to leave our beekeeper dreams for a bit, as well as conclusions, and see what we learn as students of the bees instead, something tells me they know more than eye, and in the meantime we’ll read The Bee Tree and perhaps one day we’ll find them when it’s time . . . tis a beautiful mystery for now!

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