Friday, June 13, 2014

Installing My New Bee Nucleus

This past weekend, we took a drive to Beehive Barn to pick up our new bee nucleuses. We ordered 2 Nucs from them because we've had great success with this NJ apiary. We did really well with two of our beehives surviving the winter with these hygenic bee stock. So we have been continuing to buy our bees exclusively from them. Beehive Barn is on this amazing piece of property in Cranbury, NJ. The property is dotted with barns and greenhouses, a real nice piece of farmland, with lots of land for the bees to forage in. This was the perfect day to pick up bees. Sunny, clear day, just fantastic! Aren't those just perfect clouds in the sky? Pretty right?
Sally, who owns the Beehive Barn, said we could go into the yard and pick out our own Nuc from the many nucs she had. She has about 70 hives, so we had a lot to choose from. Is this not incredible?
Here is another view with more boxes. Love. Love.
We brought our beekeeper suits and gear with us. Here we are puting together some cardboard boxes for the new nuc.
Here we are inspecting one of the Nuc boxes. We are looking for a box with frames of nice brood pattern and frames with pollen. We realized that we should have brought with us a smoker, that would have helped a great deal since the bees weren't too happy that we were opening the Nucs. They were getting slightly agitated from us opening the hive and the smoke would have calmed them down tremendously. I was stung here on the knee when we pulled frames. Ouch. We made sure we saw the Queen and we put the frames into the cardboard box and taped up the box for the car. We made sure we taped the lid pretty good. Last thing you want is the box to tip over and 10,000 bees spilling out into your car. LOL.
One of the things I love about this apiary are the chickens on the property. I saw this beautiful rooster checking us out! Sally gave us a dozen fresh farm eggs as a gift. That was so nice and thoughtful! I love fresh farm free range eggs, they taste so much better than supermarket eggs!
On the property, she also had this trailer with lots of Nucs lined up. I had to take a photo of this. I just love the look of these Nucs in a row!
We selected our Nucs and headed to Brooklyn to our two beehive locations. At our first stop, we added  the frames into our new beehive! Woohoo! We now have two hives in this backyard location! I cannot be happier!
Then we headed to our second beehive location. For this one, we decided to combine the Nuc to an existing beehive that survived the winter but has no active Queen. To combine the Nuc we added a deep box to the bottom, put the Nuc frames in with some empty deep frames. Then we placed newspaper between the bottom deep and the boxes of the existing hive. The worker bees will start to eat through the paper to get to the Queen. The purpose of the newspaper is to allow the old bees and new bees to become acquainted with each other's pheromones and with the pheromones of their new Queen. This is to prevent the old bees from killing the new Queen. By the time they eat through the newspaper, which should take only a few days, they will accept the new Queen.
Sadly, this day wasn't all happiness. We noticed at our green hive that there were lots of dead bees in front of the hive. There was a pile of at least an inch deep of dead bees. This was heartbreaking. We looked closely at the bees in front of the hive entrance and they looked like they were disoriented and walking in circles. We have seen this in the past. We had a die off in one of our hives and we suspected it was because of pesticide spraying or they were somehow poisoned by something toxic. Ugh. This makes me so sad. The only thing we can do is hope the Queen is healthy and that they will bounce back! Since this is our healthiest hive, I think they will definitely come back in numbers. Fingers crossed!

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