Hail to the Queen(s)

August 3, 2009

queen bee

So we found the queen today. Make that two queens. My friend Julie and I gingerly pulled frames out of our new beehives , looking for we weren’t quite sure what. But we did know enough to look for the queen in each hive.

We purchased the bees last week. At that point I knew nothing about raising bees. But since I try not to let lack of knowledge keep me away from a new adventure, I heartily agreed that we ought to put some hives in the back 40 at The Okey Dokey Ranch, since serendipity was nudging us in that direction anyway.

Julie had met this guy named Paul at Crestwood Coffee a few weeks back who was looking for a home for his bees due to an impending move to Houston. She and I had talked about raising bees in the past, with no real plan. But here they were, practically falling into our laps!

I figured it was time to take the plunge—kind of like getting pregnant. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never do it.

Besides, what’s a ranch without beehives, for Pete’s sake? And maybe, just maybe the bees would keep Marley and Avery from begging for a dog for a week or two.

So we visited the bees and immediately agreed to purchase them and pick them up in a week’s time. We didn’t even know what questions to ask other than would Paul agree to help us move the hives. He said yes and gave us a couple of books and catalogs about bees as we left his house.

In bed that night, Flash started flipping through my bee supply catalogue and gingerly asked me if the bees were Africanized honey bees. You see, he had heard this talk of bees and decided to brush up on the topic by watching “The Bee Movie.” Now that he was a bee expert, I stammered, “Of course not,” though in reality, I had no earthly idea what kind of bees they were. (I have since discovered that they are Italian honeybees, thank you.)

“Aren’t they going to sting us?” Flash asked with pathetic puppy dog eyes.

Dear God, this man is afraid of bees, and it never occurred to me to have a discussion with him about the bringing them home before agreeing to purchase them. SHIT. Well hell, I’ve been the decider in my household for almost two years now and I’m kind of getting used to it. And besides, Flash doesn’t live here YET.

“Honey, they’re friendly bees–Paul says he’s never been stung,” I told him truthfully. “Look, if there is any problem WHATSOEVER with these bees, I promise we’ll get rid of them.” I said.

“Look at all of this bee stuff in this catalogue,” Flash said bemusedly as he flipped through the pages. “What’s this?” he pointed randomly to a product. Medication to treat foulbrood.

“Wow, that sounds serious,” I said, thinking that this product was not helping me prove my case that beekeeping is a benign, indeed virtually boring hobby.

That night, I had visions of a very mean-tempered swarm of bees attacking guests while they drank beer and roasted marshmallows during a drum circle at the fire pit located a mere 15 feet from where we planned to set the hives.

Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all.

But I managed to calm down after discovering that foulbrood is a bee disease (a seriously contagious one) that can be prevented with antibiotics. Whew.

Within a week the bees found a new home at The Okey Dokey, and Flash documented their arrival with his video camera. Within another week, (today) Julie, Avery, Marley and I inspected the hives and found a queen in each hive!

At least I think we found them, judging from the green dot on their backs.

Cool, huh?





9 Responses to “Hail to the Queen(s)”

  1. meg Says:

    Great pictures — you guys already look like pros!

  2. Samantha Says:

    This is probably my favorite Avery look…..beekeeper trumps Indiana Jones for sure.
    Congrats on the queens, when does honey go on sale?

    • Crinny Says:

      Well, thanks to “Beekeeping for Dummies” we just realized yesterday that we needed to add another chamber (called a super) to the tops of our hives, since the bottom super is for brooding, the next one is for honey to keep the colony over the winter. So HOPEFULLY this third super will get filled up this fall. We only added a super to one hive b/c the other one just didn’t seem full enough to justify adding a third. So keep your fingers crossed. If there is some to taste, I’ll make sure you get some 🙂

  3. kevin Says:

    nice blog

  4. Wade Says:

    You’re the second friend this year to take up beekeeping. (Sean Kelley at killingdinner.com as well.)

  5. sharron Says:

    whoa, y’all are readt for halloween with those getups!

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