yesterday, we repopulated 2 hives... it was a little drizzly and cool, so not really ideal conditions but we managed to time the official "dumping of the bees" with a break in the rain drops.
the bees arrive in a metal mesh box... this view is half the box and almost the entire ~10,000 bees decided to cram into the one side where the queen was held captive inside her cage.
here is the lovely queen, surrounded by a few of her devoted coterie. there is an opening at one end that comes corked... we remove the cork and put in a marshmallow so she can slowly eat her way out while the girls acclimate to her scent and become accepting of her as the queen.
now, to get the bees out of the traveling mesh box and into the hive, there's some drama. the bees are literally dumped, shaken and poured into the hive. needless to say, the buzzing always gets much louder at this point in time. make sure you're wearing your protective gear!
here are the bees mounded up inside the hive. this hive is 4 years old, so its ready to be cleaned out by the new dwellers... we did some basic maintenance, but leave most of it to the girls.
we put the frames back into the open space, place the queen in her cage in between a few frames, and put the lid on... in a few days, we'll make sure the queen has escaped from her cage and the bees are starting their work... here is one bee that is already visiting the nearby flowers.
we have 2 other hives that are healthy and didn't need repopulation... the spring has been nice and the girls already had full brood boxes so we put on a honey super a few weeks ago. this view is into the honey super where a few girls are standing guard. aren't their tiny smiling faces so cute?!?!?!