A Beautiful Weekend to Install Some Bees

By Andrew Potter

With the dandelions taking over yards, and all the trees in bloom with little white and pink blossoms, spring is finally here in Michigan and the bees know it. Just last weekend walking by a Cherry Snow Fountain tree, I’m pretty sure every beehive within the radius was visiting this tree. Something delicious must be in those flowers!

Along with Michigan’s springtime comes new deliveries of packaged bees. I got my new bees from Keith Lazar yesterday. These bees are Italians from the Gardner’s Apiary in Georgia. Andrew took some photos of the installation process. This was the second time I have installed bees from a package. Luckily, I remembered this time to remove the cork on the queen cage from the “candy end” rather than inadvertently releasing the queen via the other cork end! The queen was a beautiful golden color, and she was caged with three attendants. Her pheromones continued to draw a cluster of bees as I worked on her cork and pinned her cage to one of the middle frames of the hive. I’ll check on her mid-next week to ensure she has been released into the hive successfully.

Everything went smoothly with the installation process, the new bees in their new home – I might add that they should be quite happy since I gave them full frames of capped honey and already-built comb from my deadouts (less work for them to do)! However, it wasn’t until much later in the day, just out in my backyard putting the chickens away, that I got stung in the face by a rogue bee. No warning at all! Now my cheek is swollen up to the size of a tennis ball. I wonder which hive that bee was from – the friendly Italians who were probably a bit testy from their long and stressful journey, or my over-wintered colony that seems to be getting more and more aggressive (another sign of the varroa mites problem). Today I will treat my overwintered colony with Apiguard to start getting these mites under control!

Despite the facial sting, it truly is a beautiful weekend to be spending time outside with bees and BBQing with friends. I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy this weather!

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