The bees have arrived!

2012 June 19
by Chris Vernon

On Friday evening our bees arrived. Well, what actually happened was someone from our local beekeeping association caught a swarm and our name had reached the top of the swarm list. They arrived in a 4-frame national nuc, buzzing loudly to an ear pressed up against the mesh ventilation. It was getting late so we left them in the shed overnight before transferring them into the new hive on Saturday morning.

Our hive is a deep national, with 14″x12″ frames. Transferring the normal national brood frames over isn’t ideal as there’s a gap at the bottom where the bees are likely to draw natural comb. No matter. The bees went into the hive with a dusting of icing sugar to help control varroa.


New bees into their new home - hope they like it!

The weather wasn’t great over the weekend but we fed them with a 1:1 sugar solution. Initially from an upturned 1lb jar with small holes punched in the lid from which they took approximately half the jar on the first day, and half on the 2nd day. After that (once it had arrived!) we switched to a rapid feeder with two advantages; it holds 4 pints of solution so we don’t need to top it up every day or two and more bees can feed simultaneously. The weather seems to be improving a little and there is loads of blackberry in flower very close to the hive. All should be well.

The bees seem to have settled in well, as I write (Tuesday) they are starting their fourth day in the hive, there seems to be lots of foraging activity and they are all over the nearby blackberry this morning. We haven’t lifted the crownboard and disturbed the frames since installing them, and haven’t therefore spotted the queen. Will check at the weekend to see how they are getting on.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. June 19, 2012

    The hive looks so beautifully clean! Not that I don’t love them when the frames are covered in wax and the hive body is all sticky with propolis, but this looks like fine furniture. Very nice.

  2. Shaun Biddiscombe permalink
    June 26, 2012

    Put them at the the back of the brood box, away from entrance, and they won’t build them out for a while. You can then replace them as and when you have 14×12 frames.

    Good idea to replace them with hoffman self spacing frames, the same as your others, as I’ve found the bees like to propolis all around the plastic spacers!

    Welcome to bee keeping.

  3. Chris Vernon permalink*
    June 27, 2012

    Thanks Shaun! I’m not a fan of the plastic spacers. We have thee normal depth nationals with the plastic spacers, the rest 14×12 with hoffman spacers. I’m thinking to make a cardboard box or something to fill the void below the three short frames. How long have you been keeping bees? Which hive type do you use?

  4. July 7, 2012

    Hi Chris and welcome to the beekeeping club.

  5. Shaun Biddiscombe permalink
    July 12, 2012

    I wouldn’t bother to add the cardboard below the standard national deep frames. the bees will only chew it up or coat int in propolus

    Just let the bees build wild comb (usually dronecomb) below and this can be removed later as part of Varroa mite control (varroa prefer drone cells as they are bigger). This will then have the same affect as beekeepers who add standard shallow super frames to the standard brood box.

    This is my second year of keeping bees, but I did a lot of reading etc before getting them to make sure it was for me. I currently have have 4 colonies but will unit 2 of them later in the year. It was always my target to maintain 3 colonies

    They are all standard National hives.

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