What an incredible couple of days! We’ve had a small amount of rain, which was perfect after Phillip finished disking the vineyards. And yesterday our New World Carniolans arrived! I ordered a 3 pound colony from C.F. Koehnen & Sons, a company located near Sacramento. In the 3 pound colony, there are roughly 10,000 bees…and 1 Queen! They shipped overnite with UPS, and I picked them up in the morning. They come in a wood and wire parcel, the wire mesh allows air circulation and a chance for inspection every couple of hours. The installation & care instructions make it clear that the bees need a minimum 48 hour introduction period in the package together. Until installation, we kept them in a dark, cool and protected area with good ventilation. I sprayed them every couple of hours with a fine mist of sugar water (1/3 sugar to water mixture).

My friend, Susan King (who is my mentor in this endeavor), came over to lend moral support and guidance during installation. We finally found the queen, in her small cage, and were able to get most of the bees into the hive before installing the queen as well. To the left, we are pulling out the feeder can before being able to locate the queen.

And out they come! Where is that queen?

Ah-ha, the queen in her cage. (I bought a marked queen for easier recognition in the hive.)

You may ask, why all the gear? Most organic/natural beekeeping books show people working with the bees without any type of protection. I hope, one day soon, to be able handle my equipment and work with the bees without the cumbersome veil and gloves, but for a novice, it is a comforting feeling to have something between my skin and a stinger! (Actually, last week when I worked with Susan’s bees, we were both stung on our ankles–it was probably due to wearing black socks and a very windy day.)
Thank you Susan and Phillip for all of the help!
Now we’ll just wait a couple of days before “popping” in on them again…