April 7, 2012
After reading all winter about bees and how to set up a hive, and checking that I had all the necessary supplies ready, spring finally arrived and Hial and I drive to south Austin on April 7, 2012 to pick up my first package of bees from BeeWeaver Apiary. The pickup was a test of our beekeeping resolve because there were hundreds of bees flying in and around the warehouse.
Since we’re in central Texas, where summer weather often starts in March and lasts until October, I set up the hive in a place that will get morning sun but afternoon shade. After I set it up, I noticed that the hive is surrounded by native Texas Persimmon trees that has tons of tiny greenish flowers in the spring (non-edible fruit, unfortunately, although the goats seem to enjoy them). The flowers were gone already by the time I installed my hive, but the bees will enjoy them next spring.
Watch the video on YouTube! Look for the bees lifting the pie pan off the hole in the box after I removed the syrup can.
That night, as I was settling into bed, I decided to read my beekeeping book to review what was next. My eyes fell upon the last line about installing the queen: “Make sure the queen cage is perpendicular to the frame so the bees can reach her.” WHAT?? I didn’t think I did that. I laid there worrying until I just couldn’t stand it. I suited up with Hial’s strap-on flashlight strapped to my head and went out to make sure the bees could get to her. Hial was a real trooper: he suited up too so I wouldn’t have to go out in the dark to open a beehive by myself. This is going to be quite a learning experience.