On Monday, we had a top bar nuc of bees to give away. Reason being, after splitting one TBH (which as Sue found did not prevent swarming but no matter, plenty left), we perforce ended up with one sub-colony using the “back entrance” of the hive which meant their flight path took them directly across the garden. Awkward.
So we transferred them to our TBH nucleus / bait hive and began ringing round to see who wanted a 7 bar nuc, several kilos of stores, with a new queen.
Now the fun began. We’d assumed it would be easy to give away…
(The following may be slightly wrong but a lot happened rapidly – my phone never seemed to stop ringing!) First we asked Helen, conveniently near and beeless. “Er no thanks just caught a swarm this morning.” Helle, also beeless. “I’ve just accepted a swarm from Linda.” As Kevin is only into black bees we then contacted Harry, who said yes enthusiastically, but then Helle contacted us to say Linda had told her that given the choice between a small swarm and a strong established nuc, take the nuc woman!!! But now we realised that Helle (and Harry / Melvin) only had Warres, and asking Gareth confirmed this meant that the nuc’s top bars would need to be reduced in length to fit the Warres. Is your head spinning yet? Mine was.
Now, we have experience of converting frames to top bars as our very first bees were converted from a National nuc to fit into a TBH by the infamous “chop and crop” method; and the thought of sawing bars with combs of anxious bees attached while their brood chilled made me quail. Then Lynne pointed out that Gareth had loads of TBH’s – the nuc could surely just be dropped into those – so we asked him and he said yes, he had an empty hive and he’d come over and pick it up. And indeed he did, an hour’s drive each way and a big thank you to him. Meanwhile Helle got Linda’s swarm and now I think we all have some insect friends except Kevin.
Apart from the funny side of this panic filled day (“yes! No! Yes! No!”) wherein I promised bees to about half our members then retracted the offer, the thing that stands out to me is the marvellous way everyone helped each other out, donated free colonies left right and centre, drove an hour to physically help others. I’m just overwhelmed by the sense of support and community. Hugs all round!