New bees looking good after arrival from Clearbrook
By Brett Kent / For the Enterprise
Welcome back to the beehive. In this week’s column, I’m going to write about the arrival of the new bees and how they are doing since we brought them home. I am also going to talk about a wild hive that Terry Kimball found while cutting down a tree.
On Friday, May 3, a semi-truck load of bees arrived in Clearbrook. The truck had 200 single box beehives on it and 800 nucs. The 200 box hives were to be placed in bee yards for the Clearbrook honey operation. The 800 nucs were to be sold to beekeepers like myself. Jerel had asked me to help him and his son, Dana, as they had to transfer the bee frames from the nuc boxes into the customers hive boxes.
I will tell you this was quite an event. I don’t know how many customers we helped, but there were cars pulling trailers, and pickup trucks backed up for 4 hours. Some people bought 1 nuc, and others bought 200. There were people who were first-time beekeepers and there were people who have kept bees for years. It was very enjoyable to talk with these people, as they all seemed to hold the same passion for beekeeping.
Dana and I decided that we would transfer my hives the next morning. There was also going to be a few customers coming the following morning. I spent the night in Clearbrook where I found a new BFF. His name is Fin and he is Jerel’s grandson, Dana’s boy. Oh my word, that little man and I hit it off. Little Fin and I watched TV and he showed me every toy in the house. I’m not sure if I wore him out or he wore me out.
Anyway, the following morning we woke up to an inch of snow on the ground. Not real good weather for transferring hives. So we decided that I would just take the nuc boxes home and transfer them when the weather straightened out.
As I sit here today writing the column, my hives have all been transferred and the bees look fantastic. I fed the bees some sugar water and moved them to their summer locations. Things are really taking shape. I am very optimistic about this year’s season.
Now, onto a phone message I received about 15 days ago. Terry Kimball had called and said that he had just cut a tree down and there were honeybees in it. He was asking if I was interested in trying to rescue the bees. So, I was in my pickup heading for Terry’s home, in no time.
It turns out, that these bees must have swarmed last summer and moved into this tree. The bees were able to beat the odds by making it through the winter. When I got to Terry’s place, I found that he had a 4-foot piece of a Norway pine, about two feet in diameter, which was hollow. The bees had a 3-inch entrance hole in the tree. Terry had screwed boards on the top and bottom of the tree to help keep the bees in.
My son Ryan and I lifted the tree into my pickup and hauled the bees home. We then placed the tree vertical again and put a hive box full of honey on top. I am hoping that the bees will move up into the hive box as their comb was crushed when the tree hit the ground.
As of right now, the bees are going up into the hive box and stealing the honey. So far, the bees are not interested in moving up. I am a patient man and I have all summer. LOL.
Until next time, you folks take care.