Two out of the three of us stood in front of the “bee pick up” area outside the store. Other people (obviously not “Newbees!”) were picking up their hives and walking off to their cars with them. My friend Frankie and I just stood there staring. There was a whole warehouse full of the bee cages, with several orphan bees flying around freely. We both had ordered the 3 pound bees with marked queens (makes it easier to identify her with the big white dot on her thorax). I told Frankie that the whole bee idea now seemed to look better on paper. We had a list of questions (yes we of course read Bees For Dummies on the 30 minute car ride to pick them up!) While Frankie was asking questions, I recorded the impromptu demo on my iphone. Good thing because we were both so overwhelmed we honestly didn’t hear a word the nice bee man said. Except for the marshmallow part. We needed a few to stuff into the queens cage entrance before putting her in the hive box. We even grabbed a few extra. You see she eats her way out in a few days.
We had driven Jeff’s car. He thought we had driven Frankies. He doesn’t really like bees and that whole idea of thousands of bees in his car (well, his back seat to be exact), just wouldn’t go over very well. Luckily we only had two escapees. There is something a little unsettling about driving down the road with the sound of bees humming and the person in back yelling, “There’s a bee loose!” Thank God for automatic windows.
We needed to deposit or release 2 sets of hives, one for me, then one for Frankie who lives down the road from us. The nice informative bee expert man said it only takes him 2 minutes to release them. We decided it would take at least that long to get the courage up to begin the whole process. Once home, Frankie suited up in her white bee suit. I put on my black coat and pink gardening gloves. Our neighbor Jay (he has actually read the entire Bees For Dummies book) and Frankie both informed me that you can’t wear black. They apparently think you are a bear if you wear black. Bummer, I was then wishing I wasn’t such a tightwad and had purchased the official white bee paraphernalia.
We dumped the three pounds of bees into the first bee box located in the middle of our field, stuffed the marshmallow into the queens cage, secured her in-between 2 frames, placed the full feeder (we actually did that first), put the lids back on, then stood back and watched. Someone mentioned that maybe we should switch around the “reducer” (used to limit the main entrance to a smaller area so the guard bees can patrol it easier) to the larger hole. Nothing like figuring things out AFTER you have released all of the bees. So we did it. And surprisingly we did not get stung.
We repeated the whole process again on Frankies’ Farm. This time it went quicker (not 2 minutes though), and were feeling pretty proud of ourselves...Sometimes you just have to have the “bees” to jump in and do it!
~Head soap pot scrubber and fake black bear