As we go through our livestock update it would only be fitting to discuss the bees as well. I had mentioned that I lost a hive over the winter, but the other hive was able to pull through. I had gone through and ordered another package and purchased another hive to put them in, though I was late to the ordering party, so these didn’t come in until now (end of April).
At first, the bee plan for this year was looking like it would be simple, but then I went to my local bee club meeting. We learned about making Nucs, and it hit me. This isn’t that hard, shoot, I could do this. They discussed a process where you pull out 5 frames from a strong colony that has over wintered and put them into a Nuc box. You make sure that you have a mix of honey, pollen, larva, and eggs. Having some swarm cells is a bonus. Make sure that you fill in the frames you pulled with empty frames so your bees have somewhere to rebuild.
Once the frames are there you put a queen excluder and a plywood piece (with a hole about the size of your Nuc box). The box goes over the hole and is left there for several hours. Some of the nurse bees will then go up to this new box to care for the larva. They will end up staying with the hive since they haven’t gone out on an orientation flight and such. Then as new bees emerge the older bees go out, never realizing the hive they were born in is just a few feet over there. Anyway, after a few hours you can close up the hives and life is good.
So, I got my supplies and set up everything. When bee day came I got all of my gear together and headed off to my bee supply store. I picked up my package of Italian bees (at some point I may see about trying some others too) and headed back home. My dad picked up the package that would be put into the hive at his place. I headed home and got my package installed and set up my little nuc. Then off to the next location to install bees there too.
While it was a long day all went smoothly. I got the bees in, I had some various other stuff to tackle too, but the bees seem to be all snuggled into their new homes. Now I just have to let them be a while, they need their space to settle in and build up their set up.
Hopefully, things will go well and I’ll be getting some honey out of at least the hive that overwintered this year.