I had emailed one of the Metro Atlanta Beekeeper Assn beekeepers who lives here in Marietta to see if she'd be willing to help me install the nuc. That beekeeper was Cindy Bee, whom I'd actually met before. I had picked up her business card back in the summer at some local event where her honey was for sale. I kept the card on the fridge for the next time I needed honey, and she was kind enough to actually deliver it. Then I met her again at the Short Course where she was one of the presenters. I was thrilled that she was able to come over to help! This gal knows her stuff - she's kept bees since she was a little nipper, is a certified master beekeeper (which is a pretty hard core program) and in fact was named the Georgia State Beekeeper of the Year recently. I could not be in more accomplished hands.
Cindy called in the morning to say she was on her way over and got voicemail because we were outside looking for bees! And finding them! We have a big holly in front of the house that was in bloom, and the bees were out there in the flowers, and in the clover in the weed patch that we call a lawn.
Cindy could not have been sweeter or more encouraging. I asked if I should go put my full bore bee suit on. She said not if I didn't want to, but shirt with a collar would be a good idea. So what you see is as covered as I got. We sat there and got our smokers lit - I had heard from other new beekeepers that something that sounds so simple in theory is quite a challenge in actual practice - not only do you have to have it lit, it has to stay lit... handfuls of pinestraw seemed to do it. Smoker lit... veil on... let's do this!
Off comes the remaining bungee cord and the top of that nuc box. Alan was there with the camera snapping away. We have the top off my equipment ready to take the frames out of the nuc and put them in. I think Cindy did the first one and I got the rest. She spotted the Queen, whom I'd named Bettina, running around in the bottom of the nuc box. I had ordered her marked, which means with a dot of model airplane paint on a hairless bit of her back, so she'd be easier to spot. Cindy picked her up and dropped her in the hive, and she disappeared between the frames and got busy. We put the top on my hive, scraped off the little bits of odd wax on P.N.'s equipment which I would need to return to him, put a feeder full of sugar syrup on the hive for the bees to tide them over until the tulip poplar bloomed, and called it a day!
I was amazed at how calm the bees were, and how calm I was. Cindy said they were sweet tempered bees - which was a relief to me becuase one of the other local beekeepers got a batch that were pretty aggressive from P.N. the week before. I had to check them again in one week. Not before! It was a beautful warm week, so I pulled up a couple of Adirondak chairs near the hive, and would sit there and watch the bees coming and going. It was just the coolest thing! And i could not get the smile off my face for a week. Here's the happy little newly installed hive: