Yesterday, I installed a new package of bees in the back yard. I picked up the bee package at Tate’s Honey Farm at 8:30 AM and installed them in a new brood box just after noon. The brood box contained an inline feeder filled with 1:1 sugar water and one drawn out frame with some cells already filled with honey from my other hive. The rest of the frames were new with plasticell foundations. Once installed in the new hive the bees started to forge and were coming back with pollen.
I was unable to get Russian bees, as planned, so I purchased Carniolan honey bees. These new bees were purchased with the funds I received from the Walt Peterson Joy in Beekeeping Merit Award I received last fall. In my other hive I already have Italian honey bees and wanted to see what type of differences there really is between breeds of honey bees.
So far, I have noticed the difference in color and level of activity. The Carniolan bees are a lot more active.. It think it is too early to tell if this will remain consistent. After all, I did just installed them in a new hive yesterday.
My Italian bees are a bit slower. The bees are cleaning up and reorganized the hive. This weekend I removed 4 frames from the upper deep and replaced them with new frames. Three of the frames I removed had dead bees still in the cells. It looked like some may have starved over the winter or got too cold and died before emerging from the cells. It is hard to tell what happened to the bees on those frames. There is no sign of disease in the hive. On the three frames I removed many of the cells were empty but some cells had pollen and others had the partly capped dead bees (I posted photos of those frames last week). I cleaned out the dead bees from the cells using a modified fork and will lightly wash the frames with warm water and a soft brush. The bees have moved most of honey up into the top super and the bottom super has been completely cleaned up. The frames and cells in the bottom super are clean and empty. The queen has laid more eggs and there have been some new emerging bees.
It was a great weekend to install the new beehive and check on the bees that were over-wintered. I learned a lot from the over-wintered hive and even though I didn’t enjoy cleaning out the old frames, I’m grateful they have survived the winter. The best part of the weekend was picking up the package of bees and installing them in the hive. There is nothing quite like bring home new bees and get them set up.
Saturday was 59 degrees and partly cloudy
Here is a link to the video I made last year of installing bees.