Friday, April 23, 2010

Welcome Hive 2

This week we welcomed our second colony of bees to the roof with a big Benvenuto!, this tribe being mostly Italian (with a few Carniolans for good measure)...

Apis mellifera ligustica. This is the most popular bee in North American. These, as all of the commercial bees, are gentle and good producers.

I could immediately differentiate them from Hive 1 bees -- the newcomers are bright yellow and a little zinginer.

Or maybe they're just acclimating.

When Noam called to say he was on his way to the O'Hare Airport Oasis (there's an oxymoron) to rendezvous with Simpson's bee delivery and would be back in an hour, I'm struck again by the happy slowness of it all:

A truck from Ohio wends its way through the Midwest, distributing small lunchbox-sized transport containers holding bees and their Queen.

The transporter: a box, a screen, and 7,000 bees
(click pix to audio, but the girls in that box are pretty noisy)

This next shot puts the bee transporter in perspective, as Art and Noam line up Art's cool newly assembled 25-year-old Sears beehive kit, freshly painted and baked in the sun.

Hive 2: casa de Italians

Soon it's time for the transfer...

In they go.

The bees find their way quickly and a light squirt of sugar water keeps them happy. As I'm making these pictures I have the disorienting sense of being underwater, as bees swirl in front of me and all around.

See the Queen in her tiny cage
sitting on the hive lid lower left?

Below, Noam hangs the Queen's cage, but he won't release her until the weekend. He tells us the worker bees need to get used to her smell, and that sequestering makes the queen less likely to fly away.

He quickly adds that there's a range of opinion on this, as there is with most beekeeping issues, from what I can tell.

Hanging the Queen cage.

Art built a new pier for Hive 2 a bit north of Hive 1.

The long view.

On goes the lid.

Bruce and neighbor Karol joined us to welcome the new colony. Note the cool-weather greens, started by Bruce from seed..

We've been cutting salads for a week
(I couldn't wait to start eating these greens)

Hi Karol,
standing a sane distance away

Now it's time to check on Hive 1, which has been busy after the long winter.

Holy moly! Lots of bees.

It's going to be a very good year.


Bruce said...

Just being (punny, no?) around Noam while he was setting up the new hive was a treat.

I've been toying with the idea of starting a rooftop hive, so watching him handle the bees and not get stung puts my mind at ease. He really makes it seem simple.

Next spring.

Law Office of Ava George Stewart, P.C. said...

Uhm, trade- a smidge of honey for coffee?- Ava & Alistair

H2 said...

Yes for certain, Ava! This autumn will be our first honey. And I still don't have my lovely java bean gift from you ...but will later today when we visit BF.

The Green Kitsune said...

I LOVE Bees! I am so, so, so jealous!