The Precarious Life of the Nousbees
The two queen bees Zazzalla and Tazzalla and several pounds of followers came to us this April on a chilly Sunday in the back of a pickup truck. The pickup truck driver, Andy, had gotten them that morning from a bigger truck that had brought them from California. It was a long trip and they were a little tired and groggy. We got them settled into their new hives and then left them alone. Tazalla and Zazzalla had their own private quarters for the first few days, while their the others got unpacked. Everyone recovered well from their big trip and when Zazalla and Tazzalla were released they seemed to like their new home. At least they didn’t fly off! If they did everyone would have followed them and then we’d be sans bees.
These particular bees are Carniolan honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica). They're from the northern part of southeastern Europe, around Austria and Slovenia. They can take the cold winters of Colorado better than those mellow Italians and are still an easy going group to work with.
Since there wasn’t much “locally grown” food yet we supplemented with some raw sugar water which they seemed to love. They set right to work exploring and building comb and my photographer friend Robert and I set to work figuring out how to photograph them from inside the hive. Being novice beekeepers, or beeks as some like to be called, we were worried that we’d be too intrusive, not to mention that we were wary of being stung. Sticking your hands into thousands of buzzing bees requires a period of adjustment- even with the proper attire.
They're well established now and the hives are filling up with bees and honey. Check in on their progress through the year.