Spring is here. This means a ton of work is in my near future, but my very favorite bit of work is with my bees. A few hives didn't make it through the winter- it was warm until it wasn't, and then- it really wasn't. I fear there may have been a moisture issue, and it froze them out. I have already made the steps to discourage this pattern for this year and thereafter. Earlier this week, I drove out to Kutztown, Pa to pick up some packages (screened boxes of bees), and was completely smitten with the drive. The sky was so big. These particular bees came up from Vidalia, Georgia, and I was given an onion along with my boxes of stinging cheer. This is my Christmas; I get to open this box of hope, pry open their cage, set up their home, marvel at the gentleness of a hive the has no queen to defend. No foolin', I have never been stung during the installations of many of my hives. I love having bees. This practice not only allows me the awareness of the seasons, but I feel it my responsibility to nurture this dying necessity.
I have gathered some images to share -
my young hens surveying the new tenants; a queen and her attendants in her cage; a look into the package; sugar syrup and a straggler's second chance; the queen released after a couple of days; and me, a very eager and tired beekeeper.