Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bees: I think we are becoming friends

That was thrilling. After a week of dread, we finally went into the hives to check that the queens had been released (they had) and remove their empty cages (we did.) You can see Husband in his suit; I put on a giant bathrobe. When the hives were open, bees were flying around everywhere and clustered on our clothing, but it felt safe a. because we were covered b. the bees did not seem angry, maybe just a little flustered. They reminded me a lot of the chickens when you take them out to clean the cage, or fill their water dish: agitated but willing to go along with whatever.

Anyway, it was great. I'm breathless. Amazing to stand there in the middle of all those unthreatening bees and peer into their home. They've built a huge amount of comb in just seven days and it's absolutely perfect, pearl-white comb. I wish I had a photograph.

This is what the hive looked like after we replaced the cover:
I went out again a few minutes ago and it was almost completely back to normal -- just a bit of traffic at the entrance. Baking a loaf of banana bread suddenly seems incredibly dull.


  1. can you explain to us what "releasing the queen" means.
    Husband looks sharp in the bee suit.
    when do we see tipsy baker in it?

  2. The queen is in a tiny cage when you first get your bees. You uncork the cage and replace the cork with a miniature marshmallow. You then affix the tiny cage to one of the frames in the hive and then close everything up. The bees will get used to the smell of the queen as they eat the marshmallow and she will be released in a few days when the marshmallow is all gone. Sometimes this doesn't work and you need to release her yourself.

    I was waiting for someone to ask for a photo of me in my attire. Next time.

  3. amazing! where does she go when she's released?
    sorry to be so nosy, but it's just not in my schedule to fully read up on bees, and now you've got me interested so...

  4. I think she just crawls into hive and holds court!

  5. I'm a little concerned that you're becoming an adrenaline junkie.

  6. one other thing: much as we love the bee pictures and the accompanying fashion drama, isn't it about time we catch up with the chickens photographically?
    obviously they've grown since last we met.

  7. so how soon can you start your cottage industry for beeswax candles?

    i love that smell and everything about those candles so i think i'd have bees just to make them. they're so expensive..

    (btw they still make them at all the communes here..)

  8. You do know the man is a saint don't you?