Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hives 2 & 3

Hives 2 & 3 were easier to get than 1, 4, & 5, because we bought them. In Philadelphia, MS, an industrious couple married for fifty years have a thriving bee business. Mr. Johnny Thompson (shown at left) manages several hives for both honey and queen/nuc production. Mark bought the new queen for Hive 1 from Mr. Johnny, and in this picture Mr. Johnny is transferring a "package" of bees from his nuc box (the small one on the right) to our hive box on the left. I think we bought a queen and 4 or 5 frames that had established comb, brood cells, and "baby bees" as Mark calls the larvae. And why not? The word "larvae" is gross.

Please notice in the picture that Mr. Johnny is wearing regular clothes, a bee veil, and gloves. Please notice that my husband is wearing regular clothes and no protective gear. On this particular night, if I recall correctly, he got several bee stings behind his right ear. For some reason, he waits until *after* he's discovered the bees are feeling aggressive before he puts on any gear. Makes no sense to me.

Ahem. Back to Hives 2 & 3. When we first arrived at the Thompsons' house, Mr. Johnny showed Mark how he was using rubber bands to hold pieces of comb in empty frames. This technique and all of the information Mr. Johnny shared that night have helped us immeasurably. Then a major storm blew through, so we took refuge inside the house, where we discovered Mrs. Thompson creaming corn (and she gave me a new idea on how to do it that proved very effective when the sweet corn came in), making chicken and dumplings, and draining honey in their homemade system of filters and containers. Mark couldn't resist buying the single jar of cut chunk honey she had for sale.

Once the rain settled and we'd toured Mr. Thompson's extensive shop with enough hive bodies and components to become a nationwide distributor, we went to get the bees, as seen in the photo. For more information on package bees, go to Bees Online, which includes a video of installing a package of bees.

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