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Finally, we got the honey back in Hunny-Bunny Farms. We travelled to the other side of Connecticut, close to the Rhode Island border to pick up 4 nucs, that is, nucleuses of honeybees. A nuc is a five frame box of bees as opposed to a 4 or 5 pound package of raw bees. The advantage to the nucs is that you buy frames not only already set up with the bee-drawn honeycomb but with stores of pollen, nectar, honey, and brood. The package comes with the bees and a separate queen cage …and that’s it. This means that the hives will have to take time to draw comb, forage for nectar and pollen and also begin to lay eggs and raise brood. Overall, you get about a five to six week head start over the usual package. I say head start but because of the cold weather throughout the country this spring these nucs were delayed by about four to five weeks, so essentially I’m where I should be with my apiary at this time of the season.
The apiary where I get my bees is about 75 miles from home so it was a long ride there and back, especially since we had to arrived at dusk to be sure as many bees have returned to their hives as possible. This means that we were caught in rush-hour traffic for two cities. We left at 4:30 PM and returned home at about 10:30PM.
When I arrived at the apiary there were three other customers also picking up their nucs. This means that I had to wait for the frames to be transferred to the customers nuc boxes from the apiary’s boxes; in turn, this means there were plenty of angry and confused honeybees aflyin’! The first guy bought about twenty nucs; the second about four; the third was getting two. So you can imagine how winged-orneriness filled the twilight air. Needless to say, despite my bib overalls and my long-sleeved shirt I got wacked on the lower lip by one of the upset gals. Since I’m allergic to bee and wasp stings I was somewhat concerned because I didn’t have my Epi-pen or a bee suit with me. The immediate effect was barely anything, but on waking this morning I had a nice purple fat lip, giving me a pouty look despite my smiling face at having my hives abuzz again.
The ride home was uneventful, though an occasional bee made her way forward and landed on us; but with the windows and sunroof fully opened we had no further mishaps… although my heart was in my mouth a few times when in bumper to bumper traffic the following vehicle nearly slammed my rear. Just imagine his surprise when instead of an air-bag deploying on impact a cloud of bees would have descended on him. Well, that didn’t happen although it came close on at least two occasions. Meantime, we arrived home and I left the bees in the car overnight. I awoke at 4:15AM and unloaded the nucs and installed them in my hives …they were still quite ornery but this time I was impervious to their fiery stings with my bee suit safely on.
All is now settled as the honeybees acclimate themselves to my yard and their extended forage area of about two miles radius. Meantime, they are making ever expanding circles over the backyard as they adjust. Certainly, by the weekend, at the latest, they will have adopted a steady relaxed rhythm of forages in and out of the hives.
I’m really satisfied with this grouping of nucs. They already have a great brood pattern on the frames which promises a good honey harvest this year, perhaps even two.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.and pouting beekeeper