bee smoker to calm the bees down before he proceeded to examine the colony for honey. He also handed down to me one of his handy devices, a queen & drone trap, which I will add a picture of in an update. There were many things that my Grandfather shared with me about beekeeping, and needless to say it aroused my curiosity and I had taken interest, and now I continue the tradition that my Grandfather left me on.
I owe much thanks to my Grandfather for his encouragement, help and wisdom in the fine art of keeping bees, but most of all, I want to thank God our Creator for the health and strength to enjoy what He has provided me.
This is the old drone trap that my Grandfather handed down to me. Notice the bars...the spaces between them are just far enough apart to allow the worker bees through and thereby trapping the larger drones and queen bees. It is rare that you catch a queen bee, because most of the time the new queens come out during peak egg laying time, which is at about this time in May and early-June, from there on, the queens egg-laying ability will be determined by the number of drones that are present near the hives entrance. In most cases the worker bees will take care of the drone population the closer to autumn it becomes, or the beekeeper can do this his/her self.
These are the honeybees in the wire cage before I put them into the hive that are in the top photo, which I received in the mail on Saturday May 30, which was yesterday. They are called package bees, and the bee suppliers, or apiaries sell the bees by weight - 2 pounds, 3 pounds, 4 pounds and so on. In the center is a queen cage where the queen is separated from the rest of bees in order they can get used to her scent before she is released, but usually has three or four attendant bees, or nurse bees placed inside the cage with her. This is usually done through a slow method of release...in the queen cage, there are three slots drilled on one side of a block of wood and on each end are holes with pieces of cork placed in each hole, and a piece of screen placed over the open side where the three slots were drilled. On one end, where the very last hole is drilled, sugar candy is placed there, and when the cork on that end is removed the worker bees have to eat the candy out before the queen can be set free and start laying eggs, this takes approximately from 4-6 days, depending on how fast the worker bees eat the candy. If the queen is not released within eight days, then the beekeeper can take the cork out on the open end, the end without the candy in it, and let her free.