Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hello you little bees!

Yesterday I went to Midland to the bee shop to collect a nucleus.  A nucleus is a box with 4 or 5 frames  containing honey, pollen, bee babies, workers, and most importantly, a queen.  It cost $120, and I was assured that the bees within were sweet tempered.  I drove directly to the grove and placed the nucleus next to the new brood box I had ready - all assembled and painted white, marked with my registered bee keeper code.  Then I opened the door to the nucleus and a bunch of disgruntled bees pushed their way out - no doubt fed up with being locked up so long.  I had been advised that I shouldn't attempt to transfer the frames into the new box too quickly.  Ideally they should be left for a day or so to get used to the new location, but being a bit impatient, I gave them about 3 hours.  I suited up, opened up the brood box and moved the frames over.  There were a lot of bees in there and they were not very happy!  I didn't spend time inspecting the frames for the queen, which I should have done - I never have any luck finding queens anyway, unless they are marked.  They are not HUGELY different from workers - just a bigger abdomen. ( I can pick drones - they have bigger eyes.)  So I shifted the frames over, putting them along side the new foundation I had already in the new box, and whacked the lid on.  There were still stacks of bees inside the nucleus box.  I shook it upside down, brushed it out with my bee brush, and still couldn't persuade them to leave.  So I have left it sitting in front of the new box, hoping that they will move in to be with their queen (if she is indeed in there, and I didn't squash her during the transfer), and their colleagues.  I left a basin of water nearby (with some twigs in it so they can get out), crossed my fingers and departed.  I just hope there is enough food around for the bees.  The Marri is in flower still, and so are the Ilyarrie, but it all is a bit touch and go.  I need to plant more good bee forage species.  I'll be down at the grove again tomorrow, but I won't look inside until next week.  I will be wanting to see signs of egg laying.

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