Healthy Brood!

It’s been just under a month since we got the hives started and they’re thriving! We popped ’em open to make sure the queens were laying and just take a look at all that healthy brood. We were a bit worried about those horizontal lines of brood-free cells, until Julie noticed that’s where the infrastructure wire ran through the foundation wax. A shame those perfectly good cells are going to waste, but otherwise, nice, thick distribution. Those bullet-shaped cells you can see in the close-up are drones. Not too many of them, though.

Hive 2 seems like they’re off to a slow start, but is much more aggressive. We’ll see…

Interesting fact: the ratio of workers to drones in a bee hive is 1.618, or Phi. It’s the same as the ratio of your total height to the distance from your belly button to your toes, which is the same as the ratio of the diameters of each subsequent row of seeds in a sunflower. The Golden Ratio makin’ me some golden honey!

First peek

We took our first peek to see how the girls are settling in and everything looked just fine. As you can see in the first picture below, there was a bit of burr comb built up next to the frames, but we peeled that off. They had also built up some burr comb around the queen’s chamber, which I thought was cool. I’m going to hold onto that as a “piece of art”, I think.

Otherwise, all as you would expect. They’ve started to draw the frames but haven’t made that much headway (just a couple weeks since they were introduced, after all).

Starting The Hives

I used to keep bees five or six years back, but after a bad year or two of Varroa and other hobbies on my plate, I gave up. I’ve always had a hankering to get back, though, so when Julie got excited about it, I figured what the hey. We called up Beez Neez Apiary Supply in Snohomish, WA and ordered two packages. Most of my equipment was shot or rotted through negligence, too, so we bought four brood chambers, four honey supers and enough frames to fill it out. $500 or so later, we were ready to get back in the bee biz!

We picked up the packages on Friday, April 16th and were about as excited to see our new girls as you can imagine two new beekeepers being. We got 10 lbs. boxes (about 10,000 bees per box, I’m told), wet them down with a spray of honey water over night, and were ready to go the next day.

Julie suited up in some protective gear she got off of Freecycle but I decided to go commando. Not exactly where I got it in my head that “real beekeepers” are too macho to wear a veil, but I did and that’s the way I want to play it, so leave me alone. I’m the one getting stung, after all, right?
The whole operation went pretty smoothly. I plucked the queen’s box out of the first box, made sure the bees would be able to remove the cork and dropped it into the brood chamber of Hive 1. Then, feeling a bit less macho as the bees started to demonstrate their own excitement, I let Julie pour the bees over the hive. Julie did Hive 2 the same way (although Hive 2 had a bit more trouble pouring out), we set the transport boxes out in front of their respective hives, and added a top-feeding box with three mason jars each of sugar solution to make sure they got off to a healthy start.

That’s it. We closed up the hives boxes and let them get acquainted with their new home.