Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ora Bee

Marshall Rice lives about 10 miles from us, and with over 200 hives, is the largest beekeeper in Jackson County, NC. I learned early last week that he had bees for sale. He has been busy splitting his colonies in an effort to keep them from swarming. I had assembled and painted my new hive a couple of weeks ago and all I needed were the bees. On Thursday evening we headed to his house to pick up a split.
Here I am opening my new hive box while Marshall opens the box containing my bees.
My brood box is open and ready for 5 frames of bees, eggs, brood and queen. We did not see her majesty, but Marshall found her earlier and marked her with a white dot. There are some of his hives up on the hill in the right of the picture.

Lovely frame of bees. Marshall is lifting the frame with a tool that I do not have, but will soon invest in. This frame lifter makes it very easy to grasp a frame filled with bees.

We waited until almost dark to get the bees so that most of them would be in the hive and not out working, but there were a few stubborn ones that just did not want to go into the new hive box. Marshall patiently smoked them and soon most all settled into their new home. We taped over the opening in the inner cover and inserted a wire screen on the front opening of the box to prevent any bees from escaping and make our drive back home uneventful.

We had rain Friday morning, but by mid-day it had stopped and the new colony was out. I watched as they made orientation flights. Small circles at first and then on each subsequent flight a larger circle until they were finding their way out into the woods and garden to forage. There was pollen coming in by afternoon. That's the wire mesh on top of the hive we used to cover the front entrance.

Ora Bee has settled in quite nicely next to Walter Bee. Ora was my grandmother.


Paul said...

I also had a similar experience with a commercial bee keeper. It amazes me how they keep up with that many hives. I hope your hive does well this year.

Lynn said...

Thanks. Marshall has his hives spread all over our county and in the upstate of SC, but somehow manages to work them all. Even when we were leaving at 8:30 he was off to check on more hives. By flashlight I guess. He is truly an inspiration and invited me to work with him. I will take him up on his offer. I'll be ashamed if I can't manage 2 hives.

vicree said...

How could it be other than "Ora Bee"? You do me proud!