Curious Fact: Bees recognize each other by special smells called pheromones. At the entrance to each hive stand guard bees, who inspect each incoming bee to ensure only bees from their own hive are entering. However, bees bearing gifts of pollen and nectar are always permitted into the hive, regardless of their origins.
Adventure Update: First hive has arrived! After all the waiting, I thought I still had a couple weeks to get the site prepared for my bees. But Sunday afternoon Bill called to say that my bees were ready and could I pick them up soon. Whoa! So we frantically spent the remainder of the afternoon (and by we, I mean Carey, with me hanging around watching with the baby in the sling) building a small stand, leveling the site with bricks, and generally getting ready.
Here’s Eli showing how he helped dig out parts of the site to make it level:
And me pretending I had something to do with preparing the site:
Then Monty and I drove out to Bill’s place and picked up our bees. Bees are usually moved at night, after all the bees are in for the night. Bill closed up all the gaps in the beehive with wire and screws. Not all the bees were in, though–on each hive he had closed up (one for me, one for another in our bee class), one tardy little bee arrived back too late. I watched them each desperately climbing on the closed entrance then all over the hive, trying to get back home. My heart went out to them. A little later, one collapsed from the cold and could fly no more. I picked up a hive tool and held it out for her. She climbed on, as though she knew I was trying to help. There was no way to return her to her own hive, so I held her to the entrance of another hive, and she climbed right in. I asked Bill what would happen to her. He said she was bearing pollen and nectar and would be accepted into the other hive. He said the other would eventually find her way to another hive also.