Beginning Beekeeping: Our Bees are Here!

They arrived by UPS on a Wednesday afternoon- the day had been chilly, windy and sleet had fallen a couple times with the rain. I googled and questioned and ultimately decided to wait til the next day to install.

So I made a mixture of 1:1 sugar water and gently sprayed them down… I did this for supper, breakfast and lunch the next day.

Thursday evening, I reread my step by step notes, I rewatched the harvest lane install video. I gathered my sugar syrup bag feeders, my marshmallow, my tool bucket which held my hive tool, duct tape, gloves, screwdriver, flat head, exacto knife with fresh blade, and spray bottle of sugar water. I donned my straw hat and veil and went to the shed to get our bees.

I put everything into our groundwork cart( I really love that thing) and hoofed it over to the hives.

I made sure that all my stuff was set out for easy reach. I then carefully opened my first box. I took out the queen cage and immediately almost killed her.

But she shook it off- I plugged the hole with a corner of marshmallow, put it down in the bottom of the hive ( as advised by the author of the practical beekeeper) and proceeded to shake the box of bees into the hive. Next I replaced my frames, gently laid the baggie feeder over the top of the frames and then placed the top back on.

Except, the bag was too full and started leaking from the pressure of the top going on it. So I very gingerly grabbed it by the slits, took it back off and emptied some out. Afterwards the top went on fine. I think. I hope.

I put the package hole towards the entrance and hoped the rest of the bees would find their way home.

The second box didn’t even go that smoothly- they were a lot more active and curious.

I didn’t almost kill the queen this time, but I had to walk away several times, calmly talking to the bees (and myself) about what I was doing and how we were going to get thru it. I also sprayed the inside of the box with sugar spray to get them interested in that. I finally said screw It and put the rest of the package, hole facing the hive entrance again. I replaced the frames, put on my baggie feeder, the top cover and walked far enough way to take this

So there you have it- I waited five years to do about 30 minutes of work. I have to check their feed in a few days.. probably Sunday or Monday. I feel really humbled and exhilarated by the whole thing.

I will admit, tho I wasn’t stung once, I did feel like I had little bitty bee feet crawling on me several different times later that evening. It was a bit surreal.

The next morning, I went out to investigate- there were still several dozen bees in each delivery package. I checked the syrup bags and they appeared good. I’m going to have MrGillis make a couple 2 inches spacers so the have a little more room. Both for the bees to feed initially, and so I can fill the bags more resulting in less disruptions from opening the hive every three days.

Until next time, have a wicked good day!

For more like this check out our Beginning Beekeeping Startup Cost post.

You can also check out my favorite beekeeping references here!


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

3 thoughts on “Beginning Beekeeping: Our Bees are Here!

    1. Thanks! This year, the plan is, if they make it to winter, we aren’t going to take any of the first two boxes. We have some long winters, and I know they’re going to need a lot.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: