Adventures in Bee-Keeping!

Our first day

Our adventure began on a misty Thursday morning, April 25 to be exact After driving out to Hillsborough to get our two 3lb. packages from Bailey Bee Supply (, we anxiously (don’t be anxious, more on that later) opened the packages to do our installation.

Opening a package of bees! Three pounds for $135. That’s more than the very best steak…

Now, back to that “anxious” part! The excitement of it all caused us to make a few mistakes. Maybe you, the reader, can avoid making these same errors:

  • Mistake One: I pulled on the yellow tape sticking up near the feed can, thinking it was there to help remove the can. Doh!! It holds the queen cage, which promptly fell into a 3lb ball-o-bees.
  • Mistake Two: On the second package, we avoided pulling the tape, but again, excitement got the best of us. We removed the cork from the non-candied end of the queen cage. Doh! She climbed out and fell into the hive body.
  • Mistake Three: We decided to use Miller top feeders. We figured you just put them on and go! But, we installed the top cover on them. That’s a big no-no. Bees can get into the open part of the feeder and drown. More later.
  • Bonus Mistake: Not so much a mistake, as a lesson in options – we decided to leave the packages in the hives overnight, thinking that the bees would be so excited about their new home that they’d vacate the package quickly. Not. More on that later.

And so, that ended our first day as beekeepers. A couple of mistakes – each of which turned into a lesson. Some lessons cost money, some cost time, and in our case, one lesson cost both. Tune in next time.

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