We picked up our four new beehives last night!
Finally we have bees - and very (very!) soon we'll have our first harvest of honey.
It was quite an event picking them up - we packed our beekeeping suits, gloves and boots - bought plenty of straps and emlocks for the hives.
We charged the torches and headed off at 4.30pm. We arrived and helped wrap the straps around the hives, we waited until just on dusk and then the owner tacked in a block of wood over the hive entrance to lock them in for the trip home.
We packed up the trailer with four hives and we packed four wooden stands, two honey storage buckets and boards for the tops of the hives in the car.
Strapped in tightly so they wouldn't move, we headed off to try to get home while there was still a little light left.
I had also copied the phone numbers from the DPI Queensland site of local beekeepers who will come out and help if you break down or heaven forbid have an accident while transporting bees.
I was really pleased to see that at the place where we picked the hives up from that they had a native bee hive in among the European bee hives - and had done so since 1987! So they can co-exist - which was great to see as I was a little worried about our native bees being pushed out or attacked by the honey bees.
Anyway, we arrived home after a slow trip and suited up, lit the smoker and started unloading them. It took a couple of hours to do - each hive had to be strapped onto a sack truck and carefully transported cross country to the bee pad my husband had built for them.
They were very, very heavy - already loaded with honey so we'll be harvesting that soon.
We finally got back inside at 8.30pm, exhausted I must admit. I always find it stressful to move things like that - I worry about everything that could go wrong, but with some good planning (and emergency phone numbers in my pocket) we were fine and it all went well.
Although it was hard heavy work and had to be done by torchlight.
My husband only suffered one sting (on his hand) - which I thought was very good given we are absolute novices, it was dark, there were four hives and we had sweat running into our eyes within our suits - don't get me wrong, the suits we have are excellent and I've highly recommend them.
So our beekeeping adventures have begun in earnest. I'll keep you posted on our progress.