|Posted on June 1, 2016 at 7:55 AM|
A few days ago I went to move the beehive from our newly planted back orchard in preparation for the arrival of 2 packages of bees. We have had so much rain and wind lately that my hive had been knocked over. This was an empty hive from a disappointing year last year. The bees absconded after 2 weeks of loving care. Much to my delight I discovered I absent-mindedly captured a swarm! This was much easier than trying to cut down a palm branch with a football sized swarm. The bees are building comb and it is hanging precariously inside the upside down box.
UPS delivered my 2 new packages of bees about 4 days ago. The days are never without angst. I had asked Andrew why he enjoyed farming and his response was, "there is a new challenge everyday." So true. As I was installing the first package of bees I accidently let the queen out of her cage. Beekeepers cage the queen and put candy in one end and a cork in the other. When she has finally eaten through the candy she is released and by this time the bees should be established. An inappropriate word might have been uttered. I continued to set up the hive and said a little prayer for her return. We were unable to locate a short nail to attach the queen's cage so Andrew cut a nail in half. It never worked and I used a little ingenuity to hang the cage. Lo and behold she returned with a small gathering of followers. I held my breath, grabbed her, and pushed her back into the cage. Enough excitement had happened and the 2nd package would have to wait until the next day.
The next day the installation of the 2nd package of bees went much quicker. A real, whole, appropriate length nail was used to hang the queen from the top bar. I did not let the queen out of her cage or drop her 3 times into the swarm at the bottom of the hive. This is getting so much easier now. Our little cream colored dachshund likes take in the action on the farm and followed me as I worked. Behind me I could hear her heaving. I yelled for Annalise to come take care of the dog because I was busy hanging the queen. When I was finished I turned around and Taffy was limp and glassy-eyed. She had been stung on the nose. When stung by a bee it is best not to grab the stinger as this will push more venom into the skin. The best course of action is to scrape it off with a fingernail. The dog was going into shock. Annalise grabbed her trusty phone and located dosage requirements for liquid Benyadryl for 8 pound dogs. About an hour later Taffy was improving and 2 hours later back to her snappy ways. I was going to fix the upside-down hive in the back orchard, but again enough excitement had happened and it would have to wait until the next day.
Today Andrew and I will try to flip the hive. He is my little warrior, but he is slightly frightful of bees. We will see how the day goes...
We have a double rainbow this morning. I just love it here. It really is like vacation everyday.
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