Well I just celebrated my first complete year of keeping bees successfully! My 1 hive I started with last April had been split only 2 months after package installation and let the new hive raise their own queen. Because of such an early split, I never had the chance to harvest any honey besides the occasional taste while in the bee yard. Both hives survived winter as if it were from a text book.
And what a better way to celebrate 1 year of bees than to install two new packages!!!!!! WHOO HOOO!!!! What a rush, I forgot how cool it was! And this time around it was TWICE the fun with two packages. It definately went faster this time since I knew what to expect. My best friend from childhood was in town and assisted me (by taking pictures, he wasn't sure about getting any closer).
Last year's install was in the rain (had a makeshift leantoo I threw together of long poles and a blue plastic tarp) and was about 50 degrees. This year the temp got up around 80!!!! The hotest day of the year so far (and to think only 2 weeks ago it was snowing)!
80 degree package install is much different. The bees seemed terribly mad. When I work with my bees, I NEVER get stung. Yesterday I endured 3 hits! One bee found it's way inside my shoe and got me on the side of the foot. Another somehow got me through my leather bee gloves (must be time to replace them, getting too thin). And after the installation was complete and everything was put away, we all sat down in lawn chairs in the shade and had some iced tea while watching the new girls get orientated. While sitting there, out of the blue a bee started pinging my head and was in full attack mode! I was 50 yards away from their hive and this one was trying to get me a half hour after the install was done!!! I must have made a bad first impression for them to come looking for me! lol. Well I tried to get away but she nailed me right on top of the noggin, the most painful bee sting I've ever had!!! Couldn't see the stinger so my wife got the oppourtunity to remove her first stinger from her husband's scalp. lol
Stings aside, it went very well and of course I had a blast. Today the bees were doing their thing, taking orientation flights and checking out the yard.
I know a lot of you let the queen out right away and I thought about doing this too but went ahead and stuffed marshmellows in the hole. Think it would be cool to let her out tomorrow after only 2 days? I'm not going to have hardly any other time next week since I'm going to be working and next weekend I have a wedding in Oregon to go to. Probably would be alright..... right?
Have lots of pics, cropping them down now. Will post em in a little while!