Last week Soel Farm installed two new bee hives and welcomed 14,000 bees! The whole family took part in preparation for their arrival. My little apinauts, Ellie and Sophie, tried on my protective gloves, suit and beekeeping hood. The girls tested out our new bee smoker, a device used to calm bees while collecting honey. Excited for homegrown honey, they very much approved of Grandma's new endeavor– and the future Halloween costume.
The bees were delivered to the farm in two white, crate-like packages. With some trepidation, both containers of buzzing, anxious, and travel-weary bees were moved into their newly prepared hives. Our bees travelled all the way from Georgia; although we've had a few dozen bee casualties, the hive remains vigorous and resilient.
Among them were two queen bees, each of whom travelled comfortably in separate compartments called “queen cages." Over the next few days, the worker bees will eat through the sugar plug of the queens' compartment to release the queens to their hives.
The bees seem to feel at home already. On warm days we've seen them buzzing excitedly around the hives and flying around the farm. On average, bees will fly within a 3-5 mile radius from their homes. We expect them to visit our vegetable garden, rose bushes, and fruit tree orchard this spring and summer.
This is just the beginning of my beekeeping experience. Stay tuned for what will surely be a library of stories to come.