I used my silly forty days remark too soon. We are supposed to get at least four more days of rain this week. Jim and I decided it was better to get the bees in during a drizzle late yesterday afternoon than have them sit in the boxes they arrived in for four more days.
After many years with the bees down on their own, in one corner of our property, we moved the bee hives next to the office last year. We thought they might like this warm sheltered spot close to the vibration of the Flower Essences. The shipping and invoicing building is right to Jim’s left in this photo. The passageway to the bottling room is right behind him. Behind the lilac on the right is one of the windows in the bottling area. Last summer the bees seemed to love this warm southwest corner. We loved watching all their activity from our desks.
The queen bee goes into the first hive. All the other bees that arrived with her will follow her into the hive. First, Jim takes off the lid of the hive and removes one frame from inside the hive. The queen arrives separated from her hive in a little box. Jim knocks the plug that holds the queen in her little box out of the hole and places this box down between the frames. Her bees will come and get her out of the box and settled her into her new home.
Sometimes with a restless queen, people leave the plug in and let the queen’s bees eat a hole in the sugar plug to get her out. With the rain, it seemed unlikely that the queen would want to go anywhere but into the relatively dry hive. At Jim’s feet are the bees that will then join the queen in her new hive.
Here Jim is pouring the bees into the hive. With the rain they were cooperative about going right into the hive. Usually there is an enormous swirling cloud of bees at this point but the rain kept them mellow. After our concerned debate all weekend, transferring the bees in the rain actually turned out to be easier and less dramatic than usual.
Here Jim shows the box holding the second queen for the second hive. Jim wears this jumpsuit because he has had some run ins with the bees during which he got stung many times. Theoretically, everything on the suit zips together so that the bees cannot sting Jim, but at one point when the netting over his helmet folded in against his face, Jim got stung twice. I was not wearing a suit while taking these pictures and when I went to brush the bees off Jim and his suit at the end of the job, one bee stung me on my palm.
An ecuadorian shaman told me that bees never sting accidently and that the placement of the stings is always to facilitate a healing for the person or to release pent up emotions. As a consequence, I try to stay very calm and cheerful when I am near the bees. This is easier than it sounds because I love honeybees and they make me very happy. When I get stung, I think of it as serving me and necessary for some reason. I know being relaxed about bee stings is not the way everyone can be about bee stings. I am grateful I can welcome the occasional sting without concern.
Sometimes Jim has to really bang on the box to get the bees to leave their temporary box home. The bees are almost like a liquid unit of moving oneness as they move from box to hive. Here you can also see that some of them did take flight and then found temporary shelter in the folds of Jim’s bee suit.
With the transfer complete, we went inside to watch it rain some more, hoping that the bees would make do with the sugar water we left them. When the rain stops, there will be so many Flowers for them. All the apple trees are coming into blossom and there are so many other Flowering trees right now. We are looking forward to sunshine and visiting the apple trees almost as much as the bees!