BA LogoBen Allen


Installing Carniolan Bees Near Otley, Iowa

Our intrepid photographer and apirary assistant, Dr. Marguerite "Peggy" Fitch. This definitely should be on her vita.

Peg the apiarist


Ben clears a spot on the farm.


Assembling the hives previously built in the basement.


Placing the entry reducer so the bees have a smaller door. Later in spring this will be removed.

Oh my, grey hair on the beekeeper. How could that be?


The new home for the bees.


Two hives of carniolans getting used to their surroundings.


Fairly calm at this point.


Peg reassures the bees everything will be alright and that their new home near Otley is a good one.

Upon seeing this photo Peg reassures us this IS NOT a style statement. It is merely a way to keep the bees out from inside one's clothing to prevent stinging.


Ben readies the hive for placing the bees.


The handy pocket knife makes a small slit in the frame wax foundation for hanging the queen cage.


Extracting the sugar can to get to the queen.


The queen emerges.


The queen cage.


Brushing her attendants off into the hive. Once she was in the hive they quickly went back to being on her cage.


The queen.


The cork stopper in the bottom of her cage has been replaced with a bit of marshmallow. This way the bees can chew their way to her and release her. But they will spend time in doing so and become familiar with the hive and decide it is home and therefore stay. At least we hope that's the way it goes.


The queen goes in.


Ben bangs the bee cage down so the bees lose their grip on the top of the cage.


Bees are poured in. This is where they get agitated and it may get excited. These carniolans were pretty calm for being tossed about so much.


More pouring of bees.


Last frame goes in slowly and gently to give them a chance to crawl into the other parts of the hive.


The bees are mostly in place in their new home.


The inside lid goes on.


Some who didn't get poured in are entering through the front door. Welcome home!


The galvanized top goes in place to keep them dry.


Time for the second hive.


The second hive went pretty much the same way starting with removing the can of sugar water.


The second queen comes out.


She's in there.


And in she goes.


The process of picking up the cage and banging it down on the ground to get the bees to let go of the top of the cage so they can be poured into the hive.


In they go.


In goes the last frame.


A last minute adjustment to make sure the frames are lined up.


Just like the rodeo you have to raise both hands to show you're done and to celebrate.


Peg with about 9,000 bees to either side.

Helpful things

One hive tool
Two hives pre-built
Two packages of Carniolans
One Marshmallow
A pocket knife,
One cart to haul equipment
One weed wacker to quell the grass
One fabulous farm for the bees