Honeybee Hive Establishment
Clarksville, Howard County, MD
Today was the Burchick’s honeybee hive pick-up day, for an order that we placed back in February. Jim and Betsy Chaisson, neighbors, friends and bee mentor and I purchased four bee packages from Krantz Bee Company of Frederick, MD. The Krantz bees are an Italian strain of honeybees, which were originally grown and packaged in northern Georgia.
Each package includes a minimum of 3,000 bees and a queen. We therefore released at least 12,000 bees to the four hives today!
In this photo, Jim pries a can of sugar water food from the center of the package.
A tape is then pulled from the package that includes a separate container, which holds the queen. To release the queen to the hive, we need to remove the cork seal, allowing the queen to crawl out of the box and into the hive. After we remove the cork, we place the queen box and queen between two empty hive frames.
We then tap out the bees, spraying them with sugar water to reduce flying, over the bottom frame and the bees quickly crawl to the queen and the gaps within the frames, and hence the beginning of the colony.
We then place the additional hive body with frames on top of the base, and the top wooden-ware body is empty, which is where our Ball Mason Jars filled with sugar syrup are placed. The sugar water drips out from the small holes that feed the bees as they become established.
One of the hives was placed on a weight scale. Today’s finished hive weight was 80-pounds, We will be able to track this particular hive and monitor the rate of weight gain (honey production). Jim has been weighing honey production for years. His information is plotted and graphed, then provided to the Howard County Bee Club. His charts show the rise, peak and fall of honey production, which coincides with various flowering times in central Howard County, as our bees have a range of feeding one to five-miles out from the home hive.
Late April through late June is the period of honey flow/production, and the hive can increase in honey weight of up to a pound a day!
It only takes a few days for our hives to become established, and once oriented, the bees will be getting busy, with the gathering of pollen, honey and brood production (baby bees) and hive maintenance.
The goal/reward of our work is the expectation of gallons of honey to be extracted in late July or early August.
Thank you Michelle for taking the pictures.