Collecting my Bees
If you’d prefer to watch a video instead of reading, check out the YouTube video that details this process
Since pre-ordering my nuc (as detailed in my last blog post) I’ve been counting down the days to finally been able to collect my bees! Along with buying all the kit, I also needed to sort the garden so I had somewhere to put them. I settled for a spot at the back of the garden. I relocated a couple of compost bins, tried to build a semi level platform and topped it with a couple of pallets to raise them off the ground.
As you can see from the picture, Its between the greenhouse and a fence. This should give ample protection from the wind and also limit the flight path of the bees, reducing the chance they will be a nuisance to the neighbours! It also has a wonderful benefit of been clearly visible to all garden facing windows in the house so I can see them whenever I like!
Fast forward to collection day, I drive over at the designated collection time to the BS Honey Bees site which is about 20 minutes away from my house. The two gentlemen were super helpful and answered all of the questions I had and handed me my very own nucleus of bees! One of the questions I had was about how to transport them to their new home. Given the short distance, they said it would be fine in the boot but had it been longer, they would have recommended keeping them in the car, with the AC on and windows open to avoid the chance of them overheating. As you can see from the picture below, they came with a very helpful wooden roof that should give them plenty of airflow. They were also sprayed with sugar water to keep them calm / cool. I loaded them into the boot and VERY carefully drove home.
Once home, I positioned the nuc on the pallets, VERY CAREFULLY removed the wooden lid and added the poly roof back on. As you can see with the wooden lid, there was quite a few bees left on so I made a little ramp for them to climb up to the entrance. At this point, the instructions were to leave them there for 24 hours. This should allow them to do their orientation flights and familiarise themselves with their new home.
After a few hours, I panicked about how I had left their entrance only partially open and opened it fully. Within a short period of time, A LOT of them started bearding outside the entrance. As a complete newb, I honestly had no idea why or what was going on and I continued to panic for a long time. Eventually things settled down and I figured either everything was okay OR they’ve all flown away! Only time would tell and I’d have to wait until the following morning where I would transfer them from out of their nuc into the beehive.
The following day…
After checking in on the bees in the morning, I was relieved to find out they were still there and very calm. The job for today was to make a note of exactly where the entrance was (as noted by the pink sharpy), move the nuc and place the beehive in place of the entrance so that all of the foraging bees would returning home wouldn’t be confused.
At this point, I was meant to open the nuc and carefully move each frame into he center of the new hive (which is filled with several frames of foundation for them to expand into). What I hadn’t quite accounted for however was how several frames had stuck to the roof of the box…
It was then I realised ‘I f*cked up’. And panicked…
I had a couple of seconds to decide what to do before they started to drop.
Safe to say, I don’t think it could have gone much worse then it did. The bees temperament immediately changed as they began to freak out! As my heart continued to beat at a million miles an hour, I had to ignore the carnage and continue to transfer the frames to their new hive whilst hoping I hadn’t killed the queen in the process…
A little while after finishing up I noticed that they had calmed down a lot so that’s good. At this point, I have to wait until my first proper inspection (about 2 weeks) to find out how badly I screwed up! Keep an eye on YouTube channel to find out exactly what happens!