Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Bees Live in Brooklyn

After picking up the bees, and watching the bee demo, it was finally our turn!  I could barely contain my excitement.  Someone asked me how we got 3 packages of bees from Union Square to downtown Brooklyn.  We thought about taking the subway, but didn't want to risk it.  Believe me, some New Yorkers do that! We transported ours in a brave taxi cab. :) We had the boxes in a paper bag, so it wasn't SO obvious what we were carrying.  However, bees are noisy, they well... buzz.  So Paul, one of my beekeeping partners and I were talking during the whole cab ride, almost as to compensate and distract the driver from hearing the buzzing bees.  hahaha.  Our beehives are both located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and placed in a hosted location.  I beekeep with 3 other classmates, and we found out about these host's from our beekeeping teacher Andrew.  Beehive hosts are people who own residences, buildings, or maintain public gardens that want beehives on their property but don't want to be actively maintaining them.  They invite beekeepers to install and maintain beehives on their property, which is a win/win situation.  They get to host a beehive, and we get a location to beekeep.  When we got to Emily's house, (she's one  of our beehive's host), we took the packages out of the bags so the bees could calm down a bit before we brought them to their new home.  We were met by Christopher, one of Emily's friends and a photographer who took some wonderful photos of the whole installation process.
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
Here's a closeup of one of the bee packages.  You can see in front of the box were either some bee "hitchhikers", or some local bees attracted by the new Queen's scent.
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
Here's a photo of Paul carrying one of the packages.  It was our first time handling this many bees!  We were beyond excited!
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
I'm so glad Christopher was there to take photos!  We were too busy with getting the bees ready that we didn't have time to take many of our own photos!
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
Here we are trying to get the can of sugar water out of the box. The Queen's box is right next to this can as well.
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
Since there were some sugar water left, we left the can near the hive so that the bees could continue feeding on the sugar water. 
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
Finally, the moment where us beekeeping students put our training into action.  Paul shook the bees into the beehive, just like our bee teacher showed us.

Here is Paul with the Queen's box.  There were bees attendants all over the Queen.  Paul removed the cork and placed the Queen's box between two of the frames, and with that, we were done installing the first beehive!
Photo credit: Christopher Franko
After we installed the first beehive into the backyard location at Emily's house, we walked 3 blocks to our next beehive location.  Our other hive resides on the rooftop of DK's house, (our other beehive host).  Here I am spacing out the frames in the beehive getting it ready for the bees.
Photo Credit: DK
Here I am releasing the cork out of the Queen's box.  It's best to remove the Queen's box first and place her between the frames before you pour the bees into the beehive.  We forgot to do that step first at Emily's.
Photo Credit: DK
A closer look at removing the cork.  There is candy surrounding the Queen's box and her attendants eat away at the candy which releases her from the box.
Photo Credit: DK
Paul placing the Queen between the frames while I remove the sugar water can.
Photo Credit: DK

Photo Credit: DK
It was my turn to dump the bees into the beehive.  We spray the bee box with sugar water to calm the bees down.  The bees get distracted by the sugar water, the water weighs down their wings and makes it harder for them to fly.  Also, they start to lick the sugar water off each other.  This makes it easier for us to pour the bees in.
Photo Credit: DK
Here I am shaking the box and releasing all the bees.  I have to say this was such an adrenaline rush!  My heart was literally beating out of my chest. 
Photo Credit: DK
Shake, shake shake, and just like that, all the bees were in the box! 
Photo Credit: DK
After we finished installing the bees into the rooftop hive, it was time for us to pack up and leave. Our first inspection of the bees will be in 5 days, upon which we check that the Queen has left her box and that the hive is busy making beeswax and honey, as well, that the Queen is busy laying eggs. As Paul and I walked down the street on our way to the subway, he said to me, "Mimi, don't call us beekeeping students anymore.  Now, you can call us Beekeepers!"  Well said Paul, well said!

7 comments:

  1. It is so exciting watching this adventure!

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  2. I am glad I decided to go down my blogroll this evening, and see how many blogs I can get visited. What fun to read about and see photos of your bee adventure! I read the first part to Larry before he left the room. I love it! Bees getting a taxi ride! I look forward to seeing what happens next.

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  3. very exciting. What a big adventure!

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  4. Congrats on becoming the real deal! Just wondering....why didn't you use your own garden as a hive site?

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  5. I am so excited about your new journey! You are encouraging me to get ready to do the same. I have been wanting to bee keep for years and I just moved to FL so I think I will really look into seeing if any grove farmers will host with me :-) Great posts!

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