Friday, 28 June 2013

Bee Wrangling Pt2 (cont ...)

Well, indeed, they stayed with me for a few days of holiday before being picked up by Jacquie. I picked up the bees from Mike and Monique early evening and took them home, driving very carefully. I always take extra care when driving with bees, as it only takes one careless road user to really spoil everyones day, so I'm extra vigilant and keep loads of distance between myself and the vehicle in front.

When I got home I then set about transferring them from their cardboard box and into a mini top bar hive (5 bar nucleus box). This was simply a matter of tipping them out and into their new home, trying to be as gentle as possible. Anyone who has ever done this knows that bees' feet can really cling on when they want to and that when they give way a whole lump of bees can tumble into the depths. As it was getting dark I was just hoping that the queen would be somewhere in the middle of such a lump. You can never get all the bees out so I got most of them to drop in and then held the box over the mini-hive and tapped the sides of the box to encourage the last few out. As soon as the box was empty I threw it as far away from me as I could to try to stop any bees flying back in towards any scent that may have been left on the cardboard after their stay in the box. Then it was just a matter of closing the bars and leaving the end hole open and then walking away. After dark I returned and, very gently, carried the box to its resting place, being mindful of any bees that were under the box. I spent a few minutes on the following evening just watching the entrance and they all seemed very settled.

They seem to be fairly calm bees and the box had put on quite a bit of weight during its stay here. It felt like an excellent colony to begin a new hobby with. I just hope that Jacquie has room enough between the combs to get them and their bees out!!

9 comments:

  1. Hi we are really please to see a new colony on the way and they have plenty of time to get built up for the winter.
    We are going to check what's left of our a bit later this weekend swarms permitting !

    M&M

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  3. Hi, thought I'd finish the story. After picking the box up from Tim's I drove home, very carefully! Then, as I still had to put the finishing touches to the hive, I placed the garden bench where the hive would eventually be, and put the box on it, so the entrance would be as close to where the hive entrance would be as possible. I then got all togged up and pulled the cork out, and I'll admit, ran away. I'd expected a swarm of angry bees to rush out looking for someone to attack. When that didnt happen I crept back for a look and 1 brave soul had come straight out and was wafting her bottom in the air, and another 2 were popping in and out. I left them to it and they seemed very settled over the next few days. I had a very busy weekend and didn't have time to transfer them, but on Monday I pulled the bench over, and put the completed hive where the bench had been, and took a deep breath and the lid of the box off. I loosened the first bar and carefully pulled it out and put it in the hive. Bees of course surged out and were flying into me. After I'd put it in I retreated to get my breath and composure back before going back to transfer the second bar. This continued for each of the 5 bars and I can honestly say I have never done anything as stressful. The bees had made comb on all the bars and on the inside of the box, which was covered in bees. I tried to shake them out, which didn't work, and after texting Tim for advice, cut the comb away and transfer the largest piece, covered in bees, to the bottom of the hive. Both pieces were empty comb and I managed to get the bees off the smaller piece and take it away. I left the box under the hive for several hours and when I went back most of the bees had gone. I persuaded the rest out into the hive and put the roof on it. Now 2 days later they are really settled, and workers with legs full of pollen are constantly going in the entrance. I managed not to get stung but the same can't be said of the cat, who now knows swatting bees is not a good idea.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like it went really smoothly. The first time you handle bees is a little nerve racking next time you look in you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

      If they are building apace you're going to have to keep a check and make sure they have enough bars, aim to be a constant two in front otherwise you end up with a row of bees looking up at you as you remove the follower to check for space which is great if you have your bee suit on.

      Dave

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    2. Thanks for the advice Dave, I added more bars yesterday and you are right, it was a lot calmer experience. The bee's have built an awful lot of comb in such a short space of time and seem very happy and settled, let's hope this wonderful weather continues.
      Jacquie

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    3. Thanks for the advice Dave, I added more bars yesterday and you are right, it was a lot calmer experience. The bee's have built an awful lot of comb in such a short space of time and seem very happy and settled, let's hope this wonderful weather continues.
      Jacquie

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