We're starting three new hives, so I got three, 3 lb packages of honey bees. I love shaking packages*, and if you're a successful beekeeper, you don't get to do it every year. It was the silver lining to our hive losses last fall, at least I would get to shake 3 packages in the spring. Except my bad luck with bees seems to be turning into a streak. It was SO cold today. Too cold for the bees to fly. Too cold to shake packages. So now what? I huddled up with my beekeeping comrades and we decided that this year, instead of shaking our packages into our hives, we would gently place the entire open package inside the hive after removing and installing the queen cage and hope the bees would get the idea and find their way out of one box and into another. So that's what I did. It was even too cold to slow things down by taking pictures or video. I didn't want the bees to get a chill so I popped them in and closed them up as quick as I could. Now we wait three days before we check them again. Please, please Aristaeus, help the bees figure it out!
*Shaking packages is what I call the process of installing a new package of honey bees into a hive. You literally pour bees from a box with a hole in the top into a hive. To get as many bees out as possible, some shaking is necessary.
Package bees are super calm at this point because they do not have a hive to defend. It's a really fun time. (That I won't get to enjoy this year!)
Hoping to have a nice progress update midweek and if the weather is good, lots of photos and video of the new hives in action. We've got some beautiful queens I want to show off. In the mean time, here's some old pictures and an old video of our very first install...