I managed to do the transfer of the standard frames to the top bar hive on Sunday afternoon. There were a couple of things that I could have done better but that is always the way. However the bees are as I had hoped…….very well behaved. That was the one thing I was concerned with. Having a neighbour who is allergic to bees does cause some problems at times like this.
It just so happens that during the transfer I was filming the event for possible use in future discussions. The camcorder all set up and running nicely.
I lifted the standard frames out of the nucleus box and replaced them in exactly the same order in the reorganised TBH. It didn’t take me long the day before (Saturday) to do some very simple and minor modifications to allow for this.
As Gareth has said the bees are inclined to travel up hill so I held the open nucleus box against the landing board on the hive at an angle to encourage them to go into the hive. This they did with a little encouragement. It took a while but they seemed to know where to go, helped by the first ones who stood with their abdomens facing out from the entrance holes fanning furiously. This is obviously to send out some hive pheromones to attract the rest into the hive. A sure sign to me that they were happy (for now) to enter this new place.
Of course the bees did their part with perfection until the Queen decided to go fly about. I had been unaware that she was still in the nucleus hive box surrounded by her workers on one side wall after the frames had been transferred across. It was not until towards the end of the process that she decided to walk up the side of the box and take off.
So all madness broke out in my mind as to what would happen next until she circled around a couple of times and landed back in the nucleus hive box before doing the entire routine a second time.
At the third time of calling in I reckon she got the message because the worker bees were fanning furiously to attract her and she then did exactly what Gareth said she would do, she ran over the tops of the bees into the hive. With me holding the nucleus box at an angle with one hand and filming it all using the other. Well I thought I was filming it all but the film had run out about 15 minutes earlier and I hadn’t even realised. Doesn’t time fly when your having fun.
Before all this drama had started I had ventured into the garden on a foraging run for nettles and lavender to make some syrup up for them. Of course its never really a problem with me to pick nettles without any gloves. Until this day that is. Left hand is still tingling as I type this where an old nettle rattled me as is the right hand. Anyway the syrup was made and the bees had some waiting in the feeder for their impending arrival. Which is still in the feeder hardly touched.
I noticed before the move that they were not as active flying in and out as they had been previously but I found that this was probably because they had virtually filled up the frames with brood and honey and they also seemed to have loads of pollen of differing colours. The frames were very heavy when I lifted them out of the nucleus box. So now they have room for expansion in the TBH I am wondering if they may start to expand rapidly in numbers and possibly swarm. There are thousands of bees. A lot more than I had imagined there should be. A lot of drones as well. Anyway today they were very active flying in and out and I was standing very close to the hive entrance looking for pollen baskets full. There were several with black pollen and several others with dark red/brown pollen. I also noticed some almost yellow/white in colour so there is a good variety of forage around my colony.
So the good bits were well behaved bees with no calamities and a very healthy looking collection of frames. Oh and no Varroa mites either.
The bad bits……nettle stings and the cameraman letting the side down.
Have to wait until next year to try again.