It's a sequel, in case anyone doesn't know, because I had that wild colony last year that died off or got absorbed by another hive or whatever, which is why I have the hivebody to put these bees in. Anyway.
Picked up the bees on Saturday. Got lost on the way because the GPS aspect of my phone is for shit and tanked out right when I needed it to tell me whether to stay on the 80 or take 80-business and I guessed wrong. Oh well, my bees were still there when I finally found my way.
Watched a three-minute video on how to install the package into the hive. Bought some seeds for bee-friendly plants because, really, I can't pass up seed packets. Was told that the bees had just been packaged that morning, which is not usual, and that I should wait until at least Sunday evening, maybe Monday to do anything at all, just put them in the garage until then. And just so you know there's really a queen in there, here are your marshmallows.
So they went into the garage. I moved them a couple of times because I do keep a car in there and I was nervous about CO, but otherwise left them alone. Went to Jepson Prairie
yesterday with my folks, which was actually kind of Easterish - walked around looking at the ground hunting wildflowers instead of Easter eggs, but one of those is called Butter and Eggs (and there was a lot of that one). And on the way home spotted three rabbits. And many lambs, but that's what happens when you drive past sheep ranches in the Spring, the rabbits were a surprise. Also got a nice little lecture with exhibits on the endangered fauna of the vernal pools (one of them is actually an ephemeral lake, it's big enough to have fairly serious waves now and in a few months it will be entirely gone!): fairy shrimp, tadpole shrimp (freaky looking), cricket frogs, etc. Also learned that the native bees are mostly single-species pollinators, even more than that, slightly different strains of, say, Goldfields will have different species of bees that pollinate them. Craziness. But it was too windy for the bees to be out, so we didn't see any.
So that was neat.
After all that I decided I was too tired to bee wrangle and they'd have to wait until today.
And then today was rainy and I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, but it cleared up by evening. I donned my full beekeeping costume - veiled hat, long gloves, windbreaker, jeans tucked into rainboots. I thought I had seen the full video, but I must have missed the beginning (it was on a loop) because I didn't really know how to get the feeder can out of the package, and the design was different than my books described, so that took a little ingenuity. And everything is harder in gloves. But I managed, and got the the queen cage safely out, so now I've seen a queen and she does clearly have a longer torso and is painted with a white dot, as promised. With some trepidation, I took the cage away from the colony so I could take my gloves off and poked the marshmallow into the corked end of the cage (pushing the hard candy cork into the cage so there is just marshmallow blocking the hole, which should be easier for the worker bees to chew through) successfully. The mass of bees stayed over by the feeding can, hive, and packaging. Regloved and put the cage on the floor of the hive between two frames as instructed by the video. Then put the whole package of bees into the space left by removing 5 frames, as instructed by one of the books, which seemed much easier than pouring the bees into the hive as instructed by the video (I've seen that done, but haven't tried it myself, so I took the easy way). Sugar syrup into the feeder outside the colony, lid on top, Bob's your uncle. No stings.
Tomorrow I will remove the packaging and probably feed them some more. Good thing I have a couple of gallons of syrup made up. I may need to wield the smoker, exciting!
The orange trees and mystery citrus have started blooming, also the sticky monkey flower and azalea, so hopefully they will get well established with nectar soon. I've relocated the hive so it isn't immediately visible from my backdoor, which will probably reduce the cloud of bees filling the backyard effect somewhat (I enjoyed that, but I don't know how comfortable I would be having guests on the patio with that going on), but I also put in a pathway of stepping stones over to where they are so it's easy enough to go check them out.