On Sunday, we picked up our bees and took them home. Our hives are set up on a second-floor deck, which gives them good access to warm sun and a clear flight path.
The queen comes in a separate cage inside the travel box, and she must be put into the hive first—her presence there tells the other bees they’re in the right place. To begin, you are supposed to whack the box and knock the bees down to the bottom before you open it. Unfortunately, I forgot this part, so when I opened the box and went to pull out the queen cage, tons of bees flew out and were spazzing out. I wanted to check if the queen was alive and well, but I couldn’t even see her because of all the bees clinging onto her cage (they’re very loyal). Once I attached the queen cage to a frame inside, I quickly dumped the other thousands of (confused) bees in as a big clump. Very satisfying. Then we put all the frames back in the hive and closed it up quickly so the bees could settle in.
Home sweet home
We also gave them some delicious sugar water and pollen patties to eat until they get going and the pollen high season starts rolling. I’m getting ready to plant some bee-friendly stuff in my yard.
Bee fact: A honeybee can fly up to six miles and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
A few more photos after the jump.
Bees ready for pickup at Ballard Bee
Dumping the bees into the hive
The closed hives with the travel boxes in front so the stragglers can get out