Reverie - n. a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream or fantasy; a visionary or impractical idea

"To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.

The revery alone will do
If bees are few." - Emily Dickinson

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Bees Have Arrived!

Package bees clustered around the food canister and caged queen
On Saturday morning we drove down to Eugene to pick up two packages of bees - 20,000 little ladies to bring home and place in my hives.  The bees arrive by truck from California, and are packaged with a canister of sugar syrup and their future queen suspended within the cluster. 

Shaking the stragglers onto the hive

Beeman and I waited until evening to install the bees, when they would be less likely to fly and disperse.   We wedged a queen cage between two frames in each hive, and with a rough shake the workers were poured into the brood boxes.  A rude start, but that's what exoskeletons are for, right?  A feeder full of sugar syrup and some kind words and we said goodnight.    

Loud and disorganized

When the sun warmed them the next morning it was chaos.  Everyone is new to the hive, with no drawn comb to utilize, no brood to tend, and the queen still imprisoned.  Every bee that left the hive was making huge spiraling flights in the air, trying to orient themselves to their new home and its location in my garden.  I was smiling all day thinking of the army of pollinators I just released on my unsuspecting neighborhood.
Orienting themselves to the hive

I am so excited to witness the transformation of these brand-new hives into a paradise of wax and honey, and installing the bees was my first step.  They were feisty that night and I was stung many times, a ritual I think I’m going to enjoy.  My body tolerates stings remarkably well with little pain and no swelling or itching.  Just beautiful red marks that I wear hidden under my clothes like a secret agreement with the bees.  I shake them up a bit – and they remind me who’s in charge.  I’m going to like this relationship. 

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