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Help save the bees!

A blog following the beekeepers at the University of Washington.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Bees Arrive

Two new packages of bees for the UW Farm hives were collected at Beez Neez Apiary Supply by former student and current Bee Team manager Jamie Bass. They were introduced to the waiting hives, single story with brand new wax foundation. The bees were very slow to "march" into the hives, even though a frame of brood had been placed in each to attract them. The packages were supposed to be queenless; the queens had been ordered from a different source and would be joined with the bees later. However, it was discovered next morning that the packages contained queens none the less (the usual way they are shipped) so the producers had made a mistake. This is why the bees were reluctant to occupy their hives -- they chose to stay with their queen instead, even though this meant spending the night outdoors in a cold screen cage! Next day bees and queens were introduced to the hives and settled in quickly. The plan to allow the bees to rear temporary queens from the provided eggs had to be abandoned. This way, the bees would be able to set up normal operations within hours rather than waiting 2-3 weeks for a new queen to grow up, mate, and begin laying. (The ordered queens will be put in separate, additional hives, or might replace the package queens.) The hives were given sugar syrup to help the workers secrete lots of wax for drawing out the comb, the actual working space of the hive, used for food storage and nursery chambers. All was well 2 days after the operation, with forager bees already bringing home loads of pollen and nectar.

Here is what a package of bees looks like:

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