The gentleman I was buying the bees from lives about an hour and a half away from here, and they were having severe thunderstorms the evening I was picking them up, so I thought I’d have to wait, but the storms were over quickly and I was able to pick them up. They were very agitated however and stung him several times while transferring the frames into my box. All the way home, they were buzzing with great irritation about the trip. One of the tips I read said you can tell how they’re feeling by the buzz. When you open the hive, a nice low hum is great, but if the volume and pitch picks up, you better back off.
I set them in place when I got home, but left the entrance closed off with a temporary cleat I cut and drilled for ventilation. I wanted them to relax before going anywhere. I set out a pan of sugar syrup and opened it up shortly after sunrise and they were happy from the start. They wasted no time in starting to build come and forage. Within a couple hours, there were workers coming back to the hive with their leg pouches full of pollen.
I installed the four additional frames with foundation (he gave me five full frames with the bees on them) after borrowing a smoker from my neighbor and protecting myself with a tyvek jump suit and leather gloves. I was surprised that they really didn’t seem to care about me at the time as they were busy doing their thing. I did have one of them bump of my face (covered with a mosquito net) but I think he was just trying to go somewhere, not being aggressive.
I ordered a fancy stainless steel smoker and a bee jacket online this morning and will check on them later in the week to make sure they’re building brood comb. I also made a new inner cover that has a hole for a mason jar feeder. Right now I’m feeding them with a pie pan of sugar syrup (1:1 water:sugar) with some rocks and wood chips in it to prevent them from drowning.
Here’s a short video of the first day they were open and active (6-12-2014).
-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.