This year preparing for bees involved a small army. From early seeding to ordering plugs and non-GMO seeds, lining up farmers and crews for clean-up and installing a couple more pads for new hives.
We installed 9 new hives on April 7, 2013. It's been the typical Eastern Shore "unpredictable" weather these last couple of weeks. Our original bee delivery was scheduled for a week ago and because of colder temperatures and rain, delivery was delayed a week. Just a few notes from this third year "new-bee":
- I placed the bee order back in January. All bee orders should be in by the end of January
- I purchase my hives (rather than hand-make them), and I ordered those back in January
- All pads and preparation work for the new hives was completed a week ago so that when the bees arrived, our focus was installing them.
- All farming and seed discussions also took place starting in January and continue...
- The first round of wildflower seed was distributed at the end of March
This year I ordered my package bees from Michael Embry from the University of Maryland Wye Research and Education Center. Michael teaches the beekeeping 101 class on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It was a great experience to buy bees from someone as knowledgeable on the subject who also works with so many beekeepers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He drove 24 hours straight down to Georgia and back to Maryland and had us all lined up to pick up as soon as he arrived. The bees were fresh and despite cooler climate, the very next day hit close to 80 degrees, and I am hoping that the girls are feeling welcome and all set in their new home.
- Michael Embry suggested we follow the "Indirect Queen-Release Method I" outlined very thoroughly in The Beekeepers Handbook, Fourth Edition by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile. We will return to the hives by Thursday to remove queen cages etc.
- Our queens were marked so no more searching for unmarked queens for this new beekeeper!