On 4th July we bought a nucleus of bees! We travelled into the Hollyrood Park area of Edinburgh, strapped the hive up, put it in a blanket and brought it home in the car.
It was a rather bumpy trolley ride to the apiary as the path was now impassable by car. Once there, we put Hive Rebecca into position. We opened the hive to check everything was ok and found hundreds of bees in the roof space. This wasn’t right! We quickly shut the hive and hoped they’d settle down overnight.
The next day we came down to have a look. The bees had indeed moved down from the roof space but to our dismay, there were bees fighting outside the entrance to Hive Rebecca and there were dead bees lying around the entrance. I’d never seen anything like this before and it was quite worrying. Was Hive Jessica attacking Hive Rebecca? We also found a massive bee outside the hive – was it the Queen? Had she fallen out or been thrown out?
We carried on and inspected Hive Rebecca anyway. We found that there were 3 super frames with brood, 2 brood frames with brood, both of which had some stores. This was not what I was expected or indeed what I through I had bought! Eggs, larvae, capped brood should be on brood frames. We was now in the position of having super frames (shallower than brood) in a brood box. The bees would eventually extend the frames naturally with comb but this would be unstable during inspections. We were a bit stumped. Between the wrong frames, the fighting and finding the large bee outside the hive, it was time to call backup – call Colin from ELBA!
We closed up the hive, added a rapid feeder of sugar water, restricted the entrance so Hive Rebecca had less to defend and went home rather concerned. This livestock business wasn’t as easy as I’d thought
Colin kindly came the next day to have a look. The hive was calm! There were no fighting bees! And in our inexperience and panic we thought a drone bee was the queen! Everything looked normal. Fantastic but rather embarrassing!