After waiting for what seems forever, our bees finally arrived yesterday. The cold weather and rain had delayed things, but now we are ready to learn all about being bee keepers by hands on experience. Frank, our bee provider, came over with his son and two hives of bees, a deep and a medium. We'll keep these boxes until next year when hopefully our hives will be well established and we can return Frank's equipment.
Frank's son (also Frank) helped me connect my bee hat and veil to the jacket and we all went out to the field area we've selected as our "bee yard." Larry set up two stands with cinder blocks slightly angled so rainwater will drain off the front. Frank showed us the queen in each hive. The bees were busy and we saw cells with eggs already laid and some capped brood. There were also cells filled with nectar and "bee bread" which is pollen. Nectar is the bees carbohydrate and pollen is protein. Even bees need a balanced diet.
I was surprised to hear that we needed to feed the bees right away, but apparently they require a little help as they adjust to a new place and find the good foraging area, etc. We didn't have the shims needed to make the extra room for the feed bag (a Ziploc bag filled with sugar water) so Frank brought two over today and I had the fun of making up the syrup and setting it up in the hive. I spilled a drop on the frame and a little group started feeding so they apparently were hungry. We'll let them go for a few days now and then check the bags. I didn't have enough sugar to give them a gallon so I gave each hive a little less than half a gallon. After a trip to the store for groceries, including a 10 pound bag of sugar, we should be set for a little while. Frank said we'll know when to stop feeding because the bees will stop eating the syrup.
I think this is going to be an exciting hobby. Frank said he's been doing it for ten years and he's still as enthusiastic and excited as when he started. I think he's going to be a big help! As for beginning beekeepers...we are learning new things already and these little creatures are our teachers!