My brother found a beekeeper with an apiary near DeKalb, IL (actually it was Sycamore, IL to be exact) who was kind enough to get a couple of nucs for me when he was picking up his own bees. Tom, from Charter Grove Honey Farm, was very helpful and had a wealth of information to share about bees. You should check out his Facebook page. It was great to meet a local beekeeper and see his apiary. I really appreciated that he took the time out of a very busy day to pick up a couple extra nucs for a newbie, and then keep them safe in the shade until I was able to pick them up later in the day. He also took some time to answer some of my questions about bees and give me some pointers. He also told me to check out Koehnen Queens (I thought it was Konan but when I searched online this is what I found), he feels they are the best source for quality queen bees.
Following the tradition of naming my bee colonies after strong women (or in this case, girls), I’d like to introduce to you Gianna (left) and Aravis (right). They seem to be settling in well.
In the queen castle to the right are the queenless and dwindling remnants of the Sweet Melissa hive, my original hive. I can’t be certain, but I am hoping that those bees find their way into the one of the new hives. Almost immediately after installing the new hives I saw smaller bees entering with pollen on their legs. Since the Melissa bees were a bit smaller and I don’t know how the new bees would have found the local pollen sources that quickly, I wonder if the Sweet Melissa bees got tired of being queenless and doomed so they decided to try their luck in the new hives by bringing in a peace-offering of pollen? I’d like to think so, but of course I am anthropomorphizing. Plus I’ve read the “Bee Wars” books by Chris Mottershead. The queen castle where I put the remnants of the Sweet Melissa hive is now full of bees robbing out the honey that is left. Even though there isn’t frenzied fighting going in it may be best to remove that hive and combine any remaining bees/honey comb with the new hives, which I will do as soon as I get a chance.