Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Moving Day

While it was still dark this morning, plans were being made to move our new honey bees to a new permanent home at the Bee Farm.  The plan was to quickly plug the entrance hole with paper towels and then use duct tape to seal it.  However when the flashlight illuminated the swarm box up in the tree I saw a big clump of bees gathered in the entrance.  The group of bees was densely packed together about the size of a golf or tennis ball and they protruded slightly outside of the entrance hole.  Those bees need to be inside before I can plug the entrance. 

This means the smoker is needed.  The smoker was lit and after a few puffs of smoke the bees went inside.  Fortunately my wife delayed going to work a few minutes to hold the flashlight as the ladder was not too stable.  A few more puffs of smoke and then I sealed all the openings (they opened up a few of their back doors chewed in the Styrofoam).

When I arrived at the bee farm it was still dark.  Plenty of time to fire up the smoker again and move the girls into their new home.  I wanted to be as gentle as possible and transfer the frames quickly.  Because the least amount of disruption will provide a smooth transition to their new hive.  As twilight arrived the frames were transferred into the new hive and I was surprised how much new comb they had already created.  And there were a lot of new honey bees in the box.   I didn't do a full inspection  and look for the queen because it wasn't light enough out and they need to get acclimated to this new location first.  An entrance reducer was also installed to help them defend their new home against any potential robbers looking to take advantage of the newbees.
Best looking (new) hive in Pinellas county

The transfer went as smooth as could be and I spent a lot of time watching the new bees get settled in.  I have a chair in front of the hives and it's so relaxing to sit and watch them all.  They were very curious about their new home buzzing all around and especially checking out the screened bottom board.  The other two hives did the same thing when they arrived.  After an hour or so I noticed a few fights on the landing board but not too bad.  Probably just curious residents from the other hives getting too close.   And of course the big ole Carpenter Bee paid a visit zooming around all the hives a few times .... probably showing off.

And then there were three !
It didn't take long for the new arrivals to start foraging.  Several bees were noticed returning loaded up with pollen already.   I thought that might take a day or so but they didn't waste any time. It was a very relaxing morning observing the bees, working in the garden, and listening to all the song birds.  What a beautiful way to start your day.

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