Laura's Adventures in Beekeeping: arriving and settling in
Written by Laura Nebbiolo
Missed the beginning? Take a look at what inspired Laura to get into beekeeping in the first chapter of Laura's Adventure's in Beekeeping here.
I got bees! We had a brood box of bees booked with Paynes Bee Farm in Brighton (https://www.paynesbeefarm.co.uk/). Arranging a day to pick them up was easy (as soon as possible!). When I went to collect them they had a travel segment on top and foam that had been duct taped at the front, which meant the bees had air but couldn’t escape.
Once I had them in their position I had to remove the foam and their door, remove the travel segment and put on a lid. When I removed the travel segment, I had to make sure the Queen was not on the bottom of the travel segment. This is vital, as if the Queen goes missing all could be lost! There was no sign of her on it, and I didn’t get to see her that day. The bees seemed so calm - they may have been stressed, but they were all over my hands whilst I did this and I didn’t get stung. I didn’t look in the hive straight away (even though I really wanted to) as the bees needed to get used to their new home.
The next day the bees were flying in and out of the door bringing back all kinds of different pollens. They were still so calm that we pulled up a chair and watched them for hours. Some of them were so laden with pollen they had to dive bomb at the front, roll over and crawl in the door. They soon learned they didn’t need to be bringing back as much pollen as that in one go. While this was going on there were bees fanning at the door helping to bring cool air into the hive. I still resisted looking in the hive.
The advice we had received was to add a super once they were in place. A super is the smaller segment of the hive that is just for honey production. There is a Queen excluder between the brood box and the first super. This means the Queen is unable to move up to the supers to lay eggs, therefore the only stuff we will find in the super is honey. The frames are smaller for supers so we bought flat pack frames with wax to go in them. Having the wax helps the bees save a bit of time when building up their comb.
This spring has been unusually warm and the bees have been very busy pollinating the fruit trees. Next I am going to have to add another super, collect some honey and see if I can find the Queen!