Day two: The learning process begins…

Bees doing their thing – going in and out of the hive

We awoke with a buzz of excitement, realizing that approximately six pounds of bees were, hopefully, in our brand new bee-yard.

Knowing we had made a few mistakes (see last post), we weren’t really sure what to expect this first day.

Heading out to the hives, the plan was to retrieve the package from the hive with the “dropped queen” and see what was happening. We hoped to find her on a frame, doing her queen thing.

Before we could get into the hive, our first major mistake reared its head. Remember how I said don’t use a top cover with a Miller feeder? Here’s what happens if you do:

Lots of drowned bees!

Too late, we realized just how the Miller feeder is supposed to work. The screened area at the top of the picture functions like a pool ladder and a swim rope – it keeps bees from floating away and gives them a chance to climb out of the sugar syrup. Our poor bees drowned by the hundreds.

After scooping as many as we could, we moved on to looking for our queen. Into the hive now, we were surprised to see that the cage was still full of bees. No way we could find our queen. We decided to shake the package (the “leave the box in there for 24 hours method just didn’t work for either hive!).

Still searching for the queen, we removed the now useless queen cage, pulled the comb away from the package, and started putting everything back together. That’s when we saw our queen – clinging to the discarded comb and looking very sickly.

We put her back in, but with the bees all over the outside of the hive and buzzing like crazy, we figured the queen was not going to make it. So, we used the excellent Wake County Beekeepers Association FaceBook group to see where we could get a queen. For $38, we were able to reserve a queen at Garden Supply –

And that was enough for the second day.

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