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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Jennifer Berry Bees - Wow!

After my weekend at a professional conference, I got up at 5:30 AM on Sunday to drive to Athens from Rabun County to pick up bees from Jennifer Berry.  I had dropped off my nuc and an 8 frame deep hive box a few weeks ago to get ready for this event.

















Here's Jennifer posing with her girls before they leave the farm.

It was great to see Jennifer on this cold morning and so wonderful to get these last bees of the season (for me) to take back to Atlanta.  I planned to put these bees in my own backyard that has been bee-less since the fall.

Actually I put a contract on a house in town the day before I left and enjoyed the grimace of my real estate agent when I wondered aloud if we could put in the contract that I wanted to put bees in the backyard of the new house before closing!  Oh, well, the bees will go to my current house instead!

Don Kuchenmeister loves a hive he runs all year in a nuc box.  It gets taller and taller.  He says it is one of his best honey producers, because it is like a tree to the bees.

So I thought I might keep the nuc in a nuc box and add my medium nuc boxes to it to give them space and grow them taller.






















So I installed it with a medium nuc on top of the deep.  As you can see in the photo, I have two waiting painted medium nuc boxes to add over time and another unconstructed one in the basement.  If it needs more room than that, I'll either split it or move them to a regular sized box.

The minute I removed the screen, these bees were all over it.  They were orientation flying, massing on the front door step and generally full of energy.  The second hive, placed under a tree nearby, looked lifeless - not a bee emerged.

To see if there were actually bees there, I lifted the top and there they were, but nobody came out of the door.  OK, I said to myself, it's only 56 degrees, probably too cold for them.  

















An hour and a half went by and the action below is the most I saw.  It was still 58 or so degrees, but I'm not happy with what is going on.  Did I get one good hive and one dud from Jennifer?  Surely not.

















Here's what it looked like, comparatively:

















After some thought and knowing few if any foragers had left this hive, I moved the lifeless-looking hive to a sunnier location near the nuc.

















Within ten minutes, there were the bees!  I hope these hives do well.  If they do, then when I move in July or so, I'll split them and take the splits to the new house.

Note:  I had the deck pressure washed today - it's just up above these hives and the steps to the deck are about five feet away from the front of the 8 frame.  I called the guy who did the work to tell him what a good job they had done.

"Did the bees bother you?"  I asked him.
"What bees? !!!" was his reply.

It was 78 or so today so we can know they were flying, but he and his men did not even notice the bees five feet away!

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