Thursday, May 19, 2011
Setting Up a Beehive Part 2
The ancient art of hunting for wild honey involved capturing foraging worker bees, marking them, releasing them from different geographical locations, then using simple trigonometry equations to locate the distance and direction of the hive. This strategy takes advantage of the bees built in homing device. Because the instinct to return to the hive is so powerful you need to make sure your hive is placed in a prime location from the start. As the adage goes, you can only move a hive less than two feet or more than two miles. The best location for the hive is where it will not be disturbed and the bee flight patterns will not be annoying. The hive should be somewhat sheltered and receive morning sun and afternoon shade.
Once you have determined the location of your hive your need to begin the initial hive set up. Start with a hive stand to get the hive up off the ground a little. Place the hive bottom on the stand then set the hive body in place. If you are getting bees from a fellow bee keeper, just remove three of the center frames and replace them with three frames full of bees. If you purchase bees you will get instructions for adding them to the hive. I acquired my bees from a friend via the frame exchange method.
If you purchased bees, the queen will either be in with the swarm or in her own box. If you got your queen in a box or if adding a new queen to bees you got from a friend you'll need to add her to the hive. The queen box is placed between the frames with the mesh facing out.
After three days check to see if the bees have excepted the new queen. If she is still in the box peel back the mesh and release her. If the bees chewed the box and released her make sure she is still in the hive. Replace the frames in the hive body.
Replace the inner cover.
Use one super, without frames to hold the lid above the feeder Jar. Feed the new hive a syrup made with half sugar and half water. Just poke a few small holes in the lid to allow the bees to feed. Make sure the syrup doesn't drip onto the bees. Inverting the jar creates a vacuum which will prevent leaking if the holes are small.
Now put the lid on and check the food every few days, add more syrup as needed. Once the bees are occupying seven frames set the second hive body in place over the first hive body, under the inner lid. When the second hive body has seven frames occupied you can add the queen excluder and a super with ten frames to start collecting honey.