I checked the bees today and they still haven’t released the queen out of her own little box yet but probably will by tomorrow. The queen comes in a little box inside the big ‘shoebox’ with the rest of the bees. All the bees have to release her. If we humans released her right away, they would probably kill her as they are all not from the same hive and need to acclimate to each other. There is a little sugar plug on the end of the queen’s box which takes the bees about 3 days to eat through thus releasing her. While they eat the little sugar plug out, they are getting use to her pheromones and by doing so will accept her. The name ‘queen’ is actually a misnomer as she does not boss the others around but is really a ‘mother’ bee, in essence a baby machine! There is no ‘leader’ in the bee colony, all the bees make decisions by consensus and the colony thinks like one organism. Kinda like the Borg in Star Trek!
I ordered my honeybees! They’ll be the Italian variety. Benissimo! They say the Italian bees are very docile and gentle and great honey producers. They will arrive on April 27-overnited from Honeybee Genetics in California. I will get a topbar style of hive.
What do bees have to do with vegetable gardening? Everything! With out pollinators we would have no produce. We have many pollinators-hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, native bees, some beetles and of course the honeybee.
I already have some bees on the property but they belong to a friend of mine. I have learned from him about them and excited to get some of my own. Last year I put in some bee flower gardens to provide more food for them (I will continue putting in more this year as well) and of course they have the vegetable and pumpkin gardens to get pollen and nectar from as well. I was amazed how well the bees did out here considering we did not have a good year as we only got 2 rainstorms all summer and they were late in the season as well. But after we got the rain, lots of native plants blossomed and they were ‘busy as bees’ collecting their food in the fall until winter came. Now they are mostly holing up in their hive-much like we are.