By Margaret Sloan, Sunset production coordinator
We get our bees tomorrow! Randy Oliver, beekeeper and owner of Scientific Beekeeping in Grass Valley, is providing our nucs.
A nuc is a colony of bees that’s already got a laying queen, several frames of brood (baby bees), and some stored food (bees eat pollen and nectar). We’re hoping this will give our bees a head start.
But first we have to get ready for the bees.
Our brood boxes (where the bee colony will care for the queen bee and the developing baby bees) came assembled from the beekeeping-supply company Dadant. We’ve found a quiet, protected place for them in an unused corner. We cleared the brush (lots of poison oak!), leveled the ground, and set the hives on cinderblocks to keep the wood from contacting the soil. We’ve got the feeders ready.
And we tried out the bee suit, as you can see from the photo of Kimberley Burch, our team leader.
Randy Oliver encourages us to work bees barehanded, without fear, as he does, and says he’ll show us how tomorrow when we go to pick up our bees. I’m a little nervous about this. I don’t know if I’m allergic, or if anyone else is either. So I, for one, am wearing a suit, and I have an epi pen, to be used in case of severe allergic shutdown. I’ve read that this is rare, so I’m hoping this is true.
Randy says he’s going to take us into the bee yard and shift our paradigms. I can always use a good paradigm shift. This should be fun.