Its been over a week since the Black Bees were moved into the TBH and last Sunday I decided to inspect them to get an idea as to how they were adapting to their new territory.
It turned out to be something of a surprise to say the least.
During the week I had been feeding them with Gareth’s patented mixture (Nettles, Lavender, white sugar and organic vitamin ‘C’ in a syrup solution) and they lapped it up. So did the ants and the slugs as it happens. How to deter the slugs and ants was something I had not heard anyone mention during the two meetings I had attended so I decided to try an experiment to stop the ants, which had also decided that the hive appeared to be a nice source of food. The slugs had got into the nucleus hive when I first brought it to the garden so that was also something I wanted to prevent from happening to the TBH.
Enter some copper adhesive backed tape and some good old drafting paper and multi-purpose grease. The idea was simple. Attach a copper band around each leg to stop the slugs and use the home made equivalent of the fruit tree grease band tied around the legs above the copper band to trap the ants. When the ants get trapped the rest avoid the same pathway so it should in theory work.
Well so far only one ant has managed to get onto the roof of the hive that I am aware of and no slugs have shown up inside either.
As for the bees themselves they are doing remarkably well. In fact too well.
As you can see there are loads of bees. Far more than I imagined there would be. All very industrious.
They have also created two Queen cells which had not been capped as of late Sunday afternoon and they also seemed to be getting very crowded in on the 5 frames.
The Queen is marked with yellow on the back.
There had been no attempt to start building comb on the adjacent top bars which were at a right angle to the 5 frames.
My suspicion is that they have literally built themselves out of space and were possibly in the process of preparing to swarm, hence the Queen cells.
The last few days have been really dry and hot so maybe they will try. Not something I actually want at this time.
As a means to preventing them swarming (if it was an issue of space which they had loads of if they would only use the other top bars) I placed two top bars parallel to the frames to give them somewhere extra to expand to.
I am now keeping my fingers crossed that they start to expand their comb building.
Then there were these odd looking things in the bottom of the hive. I have absolutely no idea what they are and there are loads of them in heaps under the 5 original frames. They look like dried up woodlice but they are very solid and woodlice never end up looking like this. If you double left click on the picture the picture will enlarge. If you then click with the left mouse button again it will magnify the bits even more.
One thing that did occur to me was that they could possibly be dead brood contents or a by product of that process. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. If only to put my mind at rest.
I hope that the bees don’t swarm but of course its not really up to me in the end. I will post more when it becomes known.
PS These bees have been the best behaved and most placid bees I could have wished for. In fact I have been sat in front of the hive without a veil on watching them without so much as an angry buzz out of them.