Friday, December 14, 2007

Pogonip Bees

A beekeeper named Jeff had started working with our late beekeeper Charles, before he died, and has expressed willingness to help us keep caring for our hives. We weren't feeling quite ready to take over the job ourselves completely (we still have a lot to learn), so we are relieved and grateful he has arrived on the scene. Plus, he's a really nice guy.

He brought up some new hives they had collected from inside the walls of the Pogonip clubhouse. He needed to move them far enough away that they wouldn't go back, so he brought them here.

A different kind of box is used for transporting the bees. When they first arrive they settle in for awhile in the transport box, getting used to their new surroundings. Once they're acclimated, they'll be moved into a regular hive box. That will be interesting.

He set the boxes up a little distance off the ground to keep them away from skunks. It seems skunks have a sweet tooth. A skunk could still reach the opening if it got up on its hind legs, but there is a secret that is mostly only known to beekeepers and skunks (and now you). A skunk won't stand up on its hind legs to reach the hive. If he did, the bees could fly out and sting him on his tender underbelly. He does not want that to happen. Keep the hives high enough up off the ground that a skunk has to stand up to reach them, and your bees should be safe from a stinky imposter.

We could hear loud humming coming from inside the box. There is some risk at this point that the bees could be angry when the boxes are opened, and fly out in attack mode. We all covered up with beekeeping hats (Jeff in full suit).

Gently he cut away the duct tape that was keeping them from escaping the box.

When the boxes were cracked open, the bees burbled out and flew around us. A few head-butted Jeff. Bumping their heads into you is a sign that they're not entirely happy. They're wondering what the heck you're doing to them, but they're not quite mad enough to commit suicide by stinging you.

It turned out okay and they were peaceful.

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