Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Russians Are Coming!

The Russians are coming!!  Actually, they already arrived.  On April 18th our package of Russian hybrids finally made it to our front porch.  We were excited to get them in the hive that we already had set up and ready to go, but the weather was rainy, windy, and cold.  The 19th was the same.  Finally, on the 20th, there was a break in the weather and we installed them in their little home.  We made it just in time I think; when I removed the feeding can I found that it was completely empty.  The following are some photos of how things went with Svetlana and how she is progressing.

This first photo is Svetlana in her package.


Three pounds of bees.  I'm not sure exactly how many bees are in there, but it is a lot.

Here we are out at the hive.  I am removing the feeder can.  The other gentleman in the bee suit is my son.  He is 14 years old and is taking more interest in working with the bees.

Here I am dumping the bees on top of the frames in the hive.
You can see some comb and some drone brood on the 3rd frame from the bottom.  I stole a frame of pollen from Georgia to get Svetlana going.  Perhaps I should have ordered some pollen patties for her but this seems to have worked okay.

Here in this photo the bees are spreading out and finding their way down into the frames.
 I removed a frame to leave a space for the queen cage.  She came in a plastic cage with a candy stopper.  It took the bees a few days to eat the candy and release her into the hive.  A few days after that she began laying eggs.

Here is a closer photo of the bees.
 These Russians seem to be a little bit darker than the Italians in our other two hives have been.

I couldn't get all the bees out of the package so I left it open by the base of the hive.
 It didn't take them long to find their way in.

Here, my son is pouring the sugar syrup into the top feeder.
 If the bees don't have either nectar or sugar syrup they will not be able to draw comb.  This gives them a good start.

Here the bees are finding their way up into the feeder.
 It didn't take them long to finish off the first gallon of syrup.

These next three photos show the progress they have been making drawing comb on the frames.

The queen started laying eggs a few days after being released.  I don't have any photos of that but she looks like she will be pretty prolific.  As of a couple of days ago she had two full frames of eggs and brood.

This is what our little apiary looks like now.  From left to right we have Ida, Georgia, and Svetlana.
No, the vine behind the hives is not dead- it is just one of the last things to green up on the spring.  This photo was actually taken after I split Georgia to create Ida.  But that will be a blog for another day.


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