Sunday, 25 March 2018

Moving House The Bees Not Me

Today was the perfect day for moving bees, 
early spring means the hive isn't at full occupancy,
Warm sunshine, blue sky and no wind. 
The bees were active
 we have been preparing for this job since Autumn, and waiting for everything to be just right and have the time to the job without rushing. 
Today was that day, 
The old top bar hive the bees were in, is in a poor state and falling apart, making checking on the bees a stressful job as you never knew if the hive was just going to collapse on you.
But its not a straight forward job of just moving them into a new hive, we needed to move them from a top bar hive into a national hive with frames.
Top bar hive is just that all you provide is the top bars and the bees make the comb hanging off those bars to fill the space of the hive 
 This photo I took a few years ago shows new comb being built on a top bar 
This photo shows some of the frames from a national hive, neither one is interchangeable with the other.
The job had to be done and I spent a lot of time trawling the internet trying to find some info on how to do it and just kept drawing a blank.
Then one night I had an idea well it was 3am in the morning I sketched it out to show Martin.
 What if we cut bits of galvanised mesh fixed them to the top of the frames
 and bent the bottoms out to hang the comb from, as you can see from the photos that is exactly what we did.
And waited patiently until everything was right for the big move

It took several hours as I had to go through each bar of comb, finding the ones with brood on, cutting the comb to fit the frame
 Any cut off bits with honey stores on have been left for the bees to clean up
 The new frames with brood pollen and honey had to go into the new hive in the same order they came out of the old one
 Now its just fingers crossed the queen is in the new hive, and everyone settles down and like there new home.

 
 The new hive is sitting next to the old hive to encourage stragglers and those out foraging to come into the new hive.
In a few days I will check the hive there should be evidence of comb building and repair I will take some photos then as today I was trying to get them moved quickly so didn't take photos of the comb in the new frames. 
It was a big sigh of relief to get this job ticked off the list.
We are looking to buy in some new colonies this year to occupy some empty hives and build up the apiary.  
This colony has been with us for many years. 
you can keep up to date with lots more going on through
Kev and Dawn's facebook group 

16 comments:

  1. That's a big job Dawn, so glad it went smoothly. I think it's wonderful that you have bees!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another big job ticked off the list, I have another big project in the making at the moment as well

      Delete
  2. That all sounds so complicated Dawn. One of my friends is a keen beekeeper and I intend to send her a link to your blog now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a lot easier and went a lot smoother than what I thought

      Delete
  3. Glad that went well for you and hope the colony likes its new home. You certainly had good weather for it today anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the planets were aligned for a perfect day

      Delete
  4. Some of my best ideas come to me in the night! So pleased the move went well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I am mulling a problem over I usually find the solution will come in the middle of the night, if I dont write it down I forget.

      Delete
  5. I'm so torn with bees, I'd love someone to have them here but just not me! The ply wood delaminating like that is very annoying on your old top bar hive, Someone was asking me about making one a few months ago, I think ply, unless it's marine ply, just won't work as well as solid wood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The top bars are about 8 years old very difficult to maintain, as the bees occupy the space all the time, a solid wood would be better but the lid because it is large needs to light weight.

      Delete
  6. Hi, Dawn, great photos and description of how you moved the bees to their new home! If I may ask, how do you keep the grass down (cut, mowed, etc) under the hives? It's our worst problem, trying to mow too close to the hive stirs up the bees, but having weeds get an advantage and take over looks very bad. Wondering what we're missing?
    Also, from the states, what is a "national hive"? It looks similar to ours but how many frames do they hold?
    Thanks for your informative posts, I look forward to reading each one as they come online.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we strim the grass down once a year, but this year we are laying membrane in the orchard area and will be covering it with wood chip easier to maintain,
      A national hive is a standard size UK hive, it holds 12 brooder frames and the supers can be added on top again all holding 12 frames.

      Delete
  7. Oh my goodness. I thought last time we moved with four children two dogs and two cats was stressful. This looks almost as hard. Well done for making it go so smoothly. I'd love to keep bees one day. Jane xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was not as hard as when we moved here with 5 hives full of bees

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time and leaving a comment I do appreciate it, I may not always answer comments but I do read them all.