felt luminary

Monday, May 7, 2012

Felting & Bees...

What do bees have to do with felting... ......you can eat the honey to give you energy to roll all that felt or you could felt in the light of a beeswax candle.....but otherwise, not a lot!  This is my newest hobby that I do with my husband and I wanted to share it with my Mom here on the blog, and others who may be curious too.  This is our first bee hive, the picture above is how the bees get delivered, in a big box with screen around it.  Have to admit I was a bit hesitant to put this in an enclosed car and drive it home but they are very secure in there.  It's about three pounds of bees, that's equal to about 10,000 bees!  You can't see her but the queen is in a smaller box in the center of the cluster of bees. 
You have to carefully & quickly open the box and remove the queen.  Here she is in her small box, left, rubber-banded to a frame in the hive.   She has to stay here for three days while the workers get used to her scent-she is establishing her "kingdom".  If you let her out immediately they would all cluster around her and kind of love her to death, literally.  While she is in the box the bees will feed her a substance they make called royal jelly that gives her the energy and nutrition to lay all those eggs.  The whole hive is built around your queen, she lays eggs that make more worker and nurse bees to attend her and keep the hive working.  The whole bee society is really fascinating once you get into it!  And it's pretty much an all female society!  All the worker, gatherer and nurse bees are female, there are maybe only 10-20 male bees, called drones, and their only job is to have sex with a queen bee from any hive-once they mate though - they're history :(

Now you have to get the bees from the box into the hive....there is a 6" inch round hole in the top and you have to just shake the bees from the box into the hive.  Here I am in my oh so attractive bee jacket shaking the bees into the hive.  The first few dumps the majority of the bees go down into the hive....the rest take some gentle coaxing.  What a sight it was to see thousands of bees flowing into the hive!  A few hundred remained in the box which we placed in front of the hive opening (below) and all of them made it into the hive.  They follow the scent of the queen and go inside.
They are now all in the hive and busy making, we hope, honey comb for the queen to lay her eggs in and for the worker bees to start making honey.  At first you need to feed them a sugar syrup and pollen patties until they get established.  It takes 7 pounds of nectar for them to make one pound of wax comb!  When you think of how little pollen one bee can carry back to the hive and they need 7 pounds of it just to start making the comb.....pretty amazing little creatures, they could use a little help at first.  In the picture with the queen attached to the frame; it's a wooden frame where we have inserted panes of beeswax foundation that have the shape of the comb imprinted on them, this helps the bees get started and allows for an organized hive that we humans can inspect for brood (baby bees) and honey production. 
Below are just some pics of the bees once they got put in the hive, our hive with the box in front and bees coming and going.  We were so jazzed with this whole process and just having a hive that we ended up getting a second hive going only this second hive has bees that were caught from a swarm which we got from a great lady, Kim, with the Santa Cruz Bee Guild. So now there are two hives atop of our wood shed and on day two they are all doing great, returning to the hive loaded with pollen.  You go girls!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, your blog is really interesting. I'm looking forward to reading more !!