Truthfully I’ve been poking around the bees every day since they arrived. Mostly just to do things like check the feeder, replace an old cover, straighten a super, remove the metal strapping (got a nice sting on the nose for that!) And of course, just observe them doing their thing, bringing resources back to the hive.
I like to think that they are getting to know me. I don’t want to disturb them overly, and I know that bees are inevitably crushed each time I pick through the hive, so I forced myself to wait as long as I could. The weather has been gorgeous and sunny, but oh so windy. Too windy? Bees can fly up to 15mph, so anything greater than that is probably a bad idea. So yeah, I opened them up anyway.
I haven’t used my veil or gloves since the day I installed the nuc. I like the freedom of no gear but I also don’t know my bees all that well yet. If I plan to learn from my hives this year, it means figuring out exactly what makes bees mad. Therefore I have ordered a full bee suit and plan to use it. Except maybe the gloves.
The sting on the nose was a nice tension-breaker, and it truly made tears well up in my eyes! But I had no reaction other than a lingering pain for maybe 30 minutes and a tiny zit right on that spot the next day. I realize now I was stung because I was causing a lot of vibrations with the metal strap against the hive, at dusk, on a recently transplanted colony, with no gear on. Lesson learned.
Some people say bee venom helps prevent cancer. According to some guy who stung himself all over the body for science – the nose is the most painful spot, so take it from me, the worst pain possible is not really that bad. Kind of like an extra fierce onion fume shoved right up your sinus. Bee venom is acidic, so a paste of baking soda and water should give instant relief when you do get stung.
So yeah, I’ve opened up both hives briefly and there are a few things I know I need to do.
First I need to get my bee suit in the mail. Then the hives need to come off the pallets, as they are currently too high off the ground to work comfortably once they grow. I’d like to build a narrower custom stand for them to make them easier to work around. I also need to do a thorough check of each hive to identify queens and brood and the overall state of affairs.
The new hive hasn’t touched their sugar water, and I’m hoping that’s because natural resources are plentiful. My inspection today showed capped brood, honey and lots of pollen, but I chickened out before checking all the frames. My recent check of the top box of the more established hive showed pretty much the same thing.
Projects include fixing the old hive cover, making some ventilated top quilts, building nuc boxes, painting and assembling supers and frames, building screened bottom boards and attending a bee workshop next weekend. Yay bees!