Heeding Jim’s advice, Dave and I headed off to the local apiary store, The Beez Neez, in Snohomish. We are very fortunate to find that Snohomish is home to many valuable resources for bee keeper enthusiasts. We talked with the owner, also named Jim, about what we needed and he very quickly pulled out the materials for new boxes. We also wanted a new top – the one with galvanized steel on top and a new bottom, the one that had a screen and then a tray, so that we can pull out the tray and check it for fallen mites. Our bees were going to get the best treatment. Dave and I are like new parents that feel their baby, the bees, need the full treatment. Years from now, all this may feel a lot less necessary.
Bee suits and such: I looked over the bee hats and veils, contemplating what equipment I wanted. Dave had secured his bee suit, hat/veil and gloves from The Beez Neez before we brought the bees home, but I had not. I wanted to get more information about the options and get a little exposure to the process of bee keeping before I made my decision on what to buy. I found a hard straw hat that I loved and wanted, but the veil which was sold separately was not one I liked. I decided to look online to see what I could find before purchasing. This is all in explanation of why I didn’t have the appropriate apparel when it came to our next task, moving the bees into the new boxes.
New boxes: We had bought new boxes and painted them and they were now ready for our next task, moving the bee frames from their older boxes into these new boxes. Dave donned his bee suit, hat/veil and gloves and looked much like a space man. Me, I hadn’t bought my bee suit and equipment yet, except gloves. We knew this task had the potential to really anger the bees, so we didn’t try to be ‘brave’ and go without equipment, except I didn’t have mine. So I wore a lined wind breaker with a hood and put the hood up. I wore the gloves, jeans and good shoes and hoped good fortune would smile upon me.
Move and inspection: I held the smoke while Dave removed frame after frame from the older boxes. We wanted to do the full inspection of each frame, just as Jim had shown us the previous week, however, as we moved the first few frames, the bees seem to be buzzing louder and louder. I was reminded that Jim told us that the bees start getting louder when they get irritated. I may have been hyper-sensitive regarding irritated bees as I certainly felt under protected, unlike my husband. He was content and comfortable in his very well protected bee suit. I was working the smoke like a mad woman, as I wanted calm bees, especially then. Dave was systematically inspecting the frames as I said, “Let’s hurry this up. We can do a more thorough inspection next time.” While nothing is quick, as you have to move at a measured pace or bees will die, we quickly scanned each frame for queen bee cells and removed them when we found them and left the rest of the inspection to the next week. Frame by frame, we filled up the new boxes and left the old boxes behind.
New home: You can tell from the pictures that the bees were used to going in a hole in the center of the second box from the bottom. These new boxes had no such hole. The bees still clustered there looking for the hole. The bees now have a full opening across the bottom with a ledge to sit on, if they wish. This is a much larger opening than they had before. They now have the latest in bee accommodations. And the best part is that no one got stung! Especially me! Success! I think I now have earned my ‘brave’ badge, if anyone is giving such a thing away. 🙂
Best Regards, Sheri