A lifestyle change took place when we moved to our smallholding in Wales, we are leaving behind the consumerism of life, growing our food, raising our meat, living our lives to the full, enjoying every day the highs and lows of country living, but not going without just doing it better.
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.