Yesterday was a big day for me. As i’ve written, i wanted to get back into beekeeping and have been steadily working towards that end.
Got an Email the night before informing me the state bee inspector had arrived and approved the Nucs I was buying for transfer. A Nuc is a Nucleus colony – 5 frames of brood, honey, pollen, and the colony of bees (queen and workers). A hive in a little box basically.
The state inspector checks the Nuc for disease, parasites and either approves it for sale or doesn’t. The weather has not been cooperative for him and so he has been running almost a month late! Since the person supplying the Nuc was leaving to travel, there was little time to waste getting my 2 Nucs full of ladies.
Drove the twisty roads to his place and picked them up. Driving home carefully, i managed to not tip the Nucs over, much to the annoyance of the people behind me who knew the roads and seemed to be in a hurry. Even though the Nucs were sealed, about 20 bees managed to have an escape and were flying around in the car. We had a grand time having a one way conversation and navigating unfamiliar winding mountainous roads.
Once we arrived Chez MUD, I put on the bee suit, fired up the smoker, and moved the ladies into their new homes. I have no video of this since I didn’t have a helper. This may sound like a simple process. It usually is but I was 10 days out of ankle surgery so i’m on crutches. Carrying things, general maneuvering, absolutely NO weight on the leg, and am supposed to wear this massive plastic boot. The massive plastic boot didn’t fit in the suit, so I was barefoot on one side.
The ladies were quite docile, i probably didn’t need to smoke them. I put the tops back on the hives, put some entrance reducers on to give them a more defensible hive opening because i didn’t know how well the 2 colonies were going to get along. Left them alone for a while while i instructed the dogs that under no circumstances were they to molest, bother, aggravate, or eat the bees.
Took off the suit, moved things around a bit in the house, grabbed a cigar, and went out to have a smoke and watch what happened. One hive seems stronger than the other. They took to the feeders right away. The stronger hive was consuming the 1:1 sugar syrup faster than the other. The foragers had already found pollen sources. It was interesting, the weaker colony had found a nearby pollen source, the pollen was a creamy white. The other hive had found a further away source, bringing home an orange-red pollen. I figure the relative distances because clusters of bees would come and go, and the one cluster came and went in a shorter time than the other. There were no signs of conflict at the openings of the hives.
Some videos for your enjoyment!