Baby bee emerging chewing its way out of the cell.
Today was all about the road trip down to B Weaver Apiary and BeeGoods Mercantile in Navasota where Zaga and I took a two-hour class on bee husbandry (a funny term since all the workers and the queen are female as are Zaga and I, and our mates have no intention of coming anywhere near the bees!) and then we shopped. I ended up getting another hive as they had a cool one that is a hybrid between a Langstroth and a Top Bar, and Zaga got a Langstroth because it was pretty--green components and yellow components. I picked up the two nucs I had already paid for and then ended up getting another nuc and a package! We drove home with the hives, suits, tools and bees all int eh car, and only the bees flew around... The nucs were all supposed to be sealed, but there was a leak somewhere as between 50-100 bees escaped and were flying around the car during the 2+ hour drive home. I pretty much let them be till them came to the front of the car, but if they did, then I had to open a window on them and free them to the bee afterlife.
Examining a frame with NO GLOVES!
During our class Zaga and I were in full bee suits, socks, shoes, hats, veils, gloves... and our instructor was in a hat and veil. About 30 minutes into the class I got tired of feeling hampered and fat-fingered because of the gloves and I took them off. It was WONDERFUL, and I never felt threatened by the bees. Our instructor got stung a couple of times, but that was because she accidentally got them between her hands and the hive frames. Squeeze a bee and it will sting--motto of the day. She was very casual about it and just brushed the stinger out. It's important to remove the stinger right away as it is usually still attached to the venom sac which keeps pumping the toxin into you after the bee is already gone. When I do get stung for the first time, I hope to remain calm enough to remember that fact and act accordingly.
Zaga happy with the bee frame
When we got home, I emptied the package into one of my Langstroth hives and went to install the older nuc (the one that was prepared for me a few days ago) in the other one--only to discover I didn't have a deep brood box, I had two shallow boxes so the feeder and the frames of bees in the nuc wouldn't fit into either of them. Luckily, we had Zaga's new hive handy (I haven't unloaded the hybrid from the minivan yet) and it had a deep brood box on it so I went ahead and set it up. Tomorrow morning I'll set up the remaining two nucs in the Flow and hybrid hives. I have one more Top Bar nuc and hive I ordered from someone locally (John Swann of Wicked Bee Apiary) coming mid-May, and Zaga has a nuc coming soon, so we'll be sitting on (obviously not literally!) six hives by the start of summer. Wheee! Honey and wax galore.