The bees have arrived!
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.
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.