Friday, March 5, 2010
First we went over all the frames and boxes (again) and finished cleaning them up and picking the best frames to fill four boxes. Unfortunately, we found another mouse-nest and this time it was full of pink, squirmy little babies. Homero gagged and blanched, but he scooped them all into an old feed bag and threw it in the back of the truck with all the other trash destined for the dump. The mama mouse retreated deep into one of the hive boxes, so we took the whole thing outside and pulled the frames out one by one until the mouse made a break for it. Ivory was standing by, and the mouse didn't get far.
Then I took all the lids, bases, screens, and feeders and washed them with the high pressure nozzle on the hose and lined them up along the fence to dry in the sun (it's about 63 degrees and sunny - we were hot in the mama barn. Some of the frames have honey in them and it is melting and getting all over everything.) I had to take a stiff brush to some of them, but they mostly look pretty good now.
We needed some kind of table or base to set the hives on that would keep them up off the damp, cold ground and more or less keep weeds away from the entrances. We don't actually have any extra tables right now - as a matter of fact we don't even have a coffee table for the living room. But we do have an old desk that has been sitting in the backyard for the the last three years. Homero sawed the top off of it to make a level base and then reinforced it with 2x4's (two hives, when full, might collectively weigh more than four hundred pounds).
Next we had to decide on a site. According to my book (Beekeeping for Dummies), the ideal site has both sun and shade available, faces south or southeast, has water available nearby, is sheltered from livestock and other animals, and has protection from the wind. That's a tall order for us, but we found a site that faces southeast, is level and dry, and has water nearby. Maybe we can rig up some sort of wind protection - we'll probably have to, considering the strength of the wind around here.
I can't wait for my bees! I'm so excited!