Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Hive - Some creative writing by Lena Hartsough

Here is an assignment Lena did for school. It was inspired by our recent hive installations.  Lena is a great help in all of my beekeeping activities.

New Hive
by Lena Hartsough
One of the four hives in it's delivery box that I installed this spring.

We are all together. In a space and all clumped as if a swarm. But our-Queen is not there. There is a Queen, but she is not our-Queen. We are moved, but the clump stays together. There are barriers all around us, like a hive, but trapping. There are no ways to stretch our wings or fly. We are angry at the not- our-Queen, for she is unfamiliar and will not help us. We try to get to her, to sting her and rip at her wings and head. We cannot reach her through the small-barrier-hive that is around her. We stay in our barrier-hive, trapped, for a long time. There is nectar for us, but it is not nectar. It is nearly tasteless.
Then the nectar-that-is-not-nectar is taken away. There is an opening, but before we get to it, it is covered. The not-our- Queen is taken away too. Then our clump in the barrier-hive is moved. We are put into more barriers and the opening is uncovered. There are more barriers above us, with the not-our- Queen in her small-barrier-hive.
Over the next lights and darks, we get out of the barrier- hive, and find the big-sky through a small opening in the other barriers. We continue trying to sting the not-our-Queen, but her smell is nice. We need a Queen, and the not-our-Queen is a Queen. Maybe she can be our Queen. But we still cannot reach her through the small-barrier-hive.
Separated from her sisters...

The not-our-Queen is taken away. We are angry. She would have become our-Queen. We fly and try to sting, and the not-our-Queen is brought back. Now the small-barrier-hive has squishy-nectar-solid instead of one of the barriers. We chew through it, and the not-our-Queen comes out. She is our-Queen now, and we will protect her and love her, as a hive does.

Safe in their new home...

And if you've ever wondered how a new hive settles into their new home, Lena also wrote this up as part of her assignment:

When a beekeeper gets a new hive, the bees come in a box with a frame of wood and sides made out of screens. Three pounds of bees are in this box, which amounts to around ten thousand insects. The queen is in a very small box with screens forming the walls, and for the first four days or so the hive has an instinct to kill her, as they see her as an intruder and a threat to the hive. A can of sugar water is inside the bee box, acting as a stopper, and from this the bees get their nutrition.

When the beekeeper is ready to put the bees into their new home, they take out the can and place some sort of cardboard or scrap of wood on top of the opening to keep the bees from all getting out at once. The box containing the queen is taken out and strapped in between two frames inside a hive box with rubber bands. Frames are made of wood, and sometimes contain a plastic center that has the shape of honeycomb. The bees use them to line with beeswax and then fill with honey.

There are two ways to get the rest of the bees into the new hive: The beekeeper can shake the bee box over the hive box that contains the queen until most of the bees have fallen into the hive, or the bee box can be placed inside a second hive box, this one empty of frames. The box with the queen in it is stacked on top of that box. The next day, the beekeeper takes out the lower box, as most of the bees have climbed into the upper box.

After another couple of days, the bees have gotten used to the queen’s smell, and accept her as their queen. The beekeeper replaces the cork in the queen’s box with marshmallow, and the bees are able to chew through it and get their queen out.

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