Monday, April 19, 2010

Bee Class--April 17th, 2010

Hubby and I have been taking a bee keeping class from a local beekeeper and president of the Collin County Beekeepers association. We attend a four hour class one Saturday per month since January. As a part of the class, we were each able to buy our own bee nuc and get to visit it in the bee yard prior to bringing it home.

This class was the first time we were able to actually get suited up and out into the bee yard.

This is me all suited up in full bee gear. This was also the first time I have been actively involved in getting inside a hive.

We got the smokers all fired up.

Unfortunately, we did not bring the camera with us into the bee yard. It would have been easy to do, but we were not sure how busy we'd be and if we'd both need our hands free.

During the time in the bee yard, I was able to open and inspect a hive for the first time. I was amazed at how calm and gentle the bees were, even with 6 humans poking around in their home. Mostly, the bees just clung to the frames and completely ignored our intrusion.

My biggest milestone of the day was that I removed by elbow length bee gloves and was able to grab and hold a drone bee with my bare hands, hubby did too. Drone bees do not have stingers, so this was a fairly safe adventure. Still, we were the first of the class group to remove our gloves and go glove less inside the hive. We noticed that all of the instructors and helpers were not wearing gloves, so this was not all that impressive except that we are newbies to the game.

We inspected the hives that were set up for us. The first hive (which hubby claimed...) we were able to find the queen and lots of new eggs quickly. Our second hive (which hubby said was mine) did not have a visible queen, had queen cells built into the comb and did not have any visible eggs... not a good sign. We alerted the instructors and they will tend to the hive later this week to ensure that I get a good strong bee nucleus to bring home next week.

We were also able to have the queen in the first hive marked with a bright blue dot on her abdomen to make her easier to find in the future.

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