"What's this?" I said, upon arriving back from a food shopping trip and seeing a packet parked upon my computer keyboard.
"Dunno. Came in the post" muttered a busy and 'I-don't-have-time-to-stop-and chatter-and-so-why-haven't-you-got-lunch-yet-and-why-have-you-been-out-for-longer-than-you-said-you-would-be' mildly irritated Hubs.
Anyways.....investigated the packet, and this is what it said was inside: 'Live queen bee (x1). Live attending bees (x5) all enclosed in plastic cage'.
She'd come! Yippeeidaydo!!!! But.......What to do! What to do!! What to dooooo!!!!
Well open her up. So I did:
Yes, but now what to do! What to do!! Now what to doooo!!!!!!
So scrambled onto our apiarist friend's website for instructions: 'Can keep queencage in a dark place for a day or so.' So I put her in the cupboard. And shut the door. Then went out to find a puddle of clean rain water. Scopped some rain water into wine glass. Back to cupboard. Gingerly opened the door half expecting to be buzzed by escapee bees. No. All still in the queen cage. Could see a leg waving about. One was alive at least. Dropped in a drop of rain water into the queen cage. More went in than I meant, but it flowed straight through the cage and onto the floor, which was good. At least I did not drown anyone. Cage back into cupboard. Door firmly shut. Sent email to Lucy to say that I got the queen, although surprised that she had not said that she was going to do so. Message back: didn't send queen, but think that it was Patsy, her assistant. Anyways, not to worry. She's here. And God bless Patsy!
Leave her in the cupboard then. Copy the 'queen introduction' instructions from Lucy's website: 'give sugar syrup to the hive before introducing the queen'. So made some sugar syrup. Then went out to a rehearsal with other folk I am playing music with on Sunday. Went into avoidance mode about Bee Project. Time for bed.
The following morning. Hubs: "When are you going to put the queen in the hive then?"
"Oh, perhaps tomorrow, or Monday......." says moi, still in avoidance mode as to the Bee Project. So Hubs took control. This happens when either one or the other is doing the avoidance thing - one will push the other along, which means, I guess, that we are pedalling the same bike. What I mean is that when one of us stops pedalling then the other one will keep on doing the pedalling to keep us travelling forward. Teamwork!
Into our gear then:
.....with me being thoroughly silly and Hubs saying "Oh get a move on Vera. I haven't got all day!" and him looking stern faced at me all the while I was making a photo-shoot, as can be seen in the above photo!
...then off we went, with Gus and Bools trolling along behind:
...... I was bringing up the rear, still trying to stifle giggles.
Out to the hive we went. Off came the lid. Ants. Thousands of ants inside the lid. Off it came. Out into the air the ants found themselves flying, as Hubs swung the lid about to encourage their evacuation. Next lid off. Yahooooo! Bbbbeeeeez!!! Still at one end, same as before.
Lifted a frame out from the no bee zone. Put that on the ground. Moved the other frames along, slowly. Got to a bee-frame. Not many on. Next frame, more. And what was this! It looked like those little girls were building some cells, and the same for the next one, lots more bees too although not enough to get them through the coming winter, but it is only June so they should have time to increase the colony and stack up some honey, but they have a lot of hard work ahead. A bit like us really.
So Hubs jammed the queencage between the two most populated frames. Hope it doesn't fall to the floor of the hive. Hope it stays in place. Hope we didn't squash any bees.
Lids on. Sugar syrup in tray outside hive. Should be put inside the hive but nowhere to put it, so outside the front door it goes. Other bees, however, do take advantage of this bounty. How do we know this? Because I watch them partake of the syrup then fly off in the opposite direction to our hive. Not to worry, at least some of it goes to our bees.
Gussy limped up. Oh no! Grass dart in his foot again. Second time in three days. Hubs investigated. Bad one this time. Swelling. Vets? Probably. Just paid ninety pounds out for the vet to come and give medicine and take blood tests for the sheep. But: must be done. Thought I would try the river. Not to throw myself in to! No, not that! Thought that the cool, fast flow of the river would sooth his foot. Seems to have worked. Not much limping now. Worked for me too. I forgot how soothing paddling in the river can be, albeit with wellington boots on.
Meanwhile, Danny and crew turned up. Half Barn to be done at long last, so we can dispense with the caravan to sleep in forever? No. Afraid not. They seem to have bypassed the Side Barn and are pushing on with doing the roof of the Middle Barn. It looks like all the roofs will be done soon. Will post up photos in the next blog.
So the new queen is in situ. Have to stay away from the hive for at least a week. Then we have to go inside the hive and release her from the queen cage. But that is for next weekend. For the moment, though, I think I might go and have a lie down!