We installed our first honey bees last weekend. Hive #1 was no problem, but we didn’t have all the pieces for Hive #2, so we had to improvise with some scrap lumber and a window pane. The missing pieces arrived in the mail a few days later and today we decided to use them to upgrade Hive #2. We gave the bees a new floor and a new roof. Here’s a low-rez video of it:
(We ordered a hi-def camera today, so all future videos are going to look great.)
Smoking the bees supposedly makes them more docile and easier to handle, but they sound angrier whenever I smoke them. I know some beekeepers say spraying them with water works just as well and doesn’t upset them as much. I might try that (our smoker keeps going out anyway). The bees were buzzing all over the place for an hour or two after we messed with them. I can see why it’s best to leave them alone most of the time.
UPDATE: I would never smoke the bees like this anymore. For this kind of operation, I don’t think I would have done anything to them. But if I did, I’d spray them with a fine mist of water or sugar-water instead of smoke. Works just as well, doesn’t agitate them nearly as much and they recover much faster.
UPDATE (Jan. 25/11): We definitely wouldn’t smoke them like this today — or smoke them at all. The first part of the video shows the first hive being upgraded. Before that, though, it didn’t even have an upper entrance or ventilation hole. So for the first week, Hive #2 must have cooked. We were clueless. The honeycomb built on top of the frames in Hive #1 is burr comb. The bees constructed it because we had the inner cover on backwards which left the bees with more than 1cm of space above the frames, which they will naturally fill in with comb to maintain the 1cm of “bee space” that they like.