Have been lurking on the beekeeping forums for the past 4 months or so. I had been hoping to build my own TBH, but I have been sick with several bugs that my 2.5 year old daughter has been bringing home from daycare plus I was out of commission for 2 whole weekends due to a kidney stone that took 8.5 days to pass.
So, I broke down and bought a TBH from BackYardHive.com.
We spent a lot of time, $, and energy in getting our small garden plot ready as well as several fruit trees. We mainly wanted the bees for pollination and a little honey and beeswax. We also live in the middle of the city and figured a small TBH would fit in best in our surroundings. We have a fence full of jasmine that has just started blooming and one of our neighbors has some ligustrum that's getting ready to go bonkers.
I picked up my 3 lbs of bees (All Stars) from B.Weaver this morning. 3 lbs of bees is a LOT of bees to someone that's never seen more than those that come to check out the trees/flowers in the back yard.
The package sat on the end of the kitchen counter until early this evening. My wife and daughter thought that was pretty cool. They sat there for about 20 minutes just watching the bees and listening to 'em buzz. They really
thought it was neat to see all of the little "bee tongues" when I gave 'em a spritz of 1:1 syrup.
I made up a couple lbs of fondant and my wife had fun "painting" the beeswax onto the top bars. My daughter got in on the action by helping me take the "waxed" top bars back out to the hive. I pushed a couple of very small pieces of fondant through the hardware cloth on the bee package and the bees seemed to approve of it quite highly!
It was great weather for installing the bees. 70 degrees with a very slight breeze. Put on my "bee jacket w/ veil" that I ordered from Dadant as well as some gloves. I had already pre-placed some of my tools at the hive (spray bottle, bee brush, hive tool, etc) Got the queen cage and the majority of the bees in there and the top bars and hive top back on without squashing too many of 'em and I didn't get stung! (well.. at least while installing the bees..
). My wife and daughter watched from halfway across the yard. Even my wife said "Wow! That was a LOT of bees you dumped in there!" I let the bees settle down for about 30 minutes and took a peek through the window on the side of the hive - quite a few bees were already chowing down on the fondant!
I was back around in front of the garage putting up tools from putting together a sturdier top for the hive and a bee must've been crawling around on my front along my waistband... I bent over and *zap* - right on the belly!
It wasn't too bad - I think the stinger actually came out when I pulled my shirt away from my skin as I didn't find it after scraping the area.
Went out to check 'em after it got dark and nearly all of the bees were in the hive.
Will check 'em in 2-3 days to be sure the queen is out.