New hive on the block

New National beehive

Today's the day when "Plan Bee" finally gets its first colony of bees. After waiting for what seems ages, I happened to be chatting with a lovely lady called Sylvia at the Annual Nosema Testing Day I went along to help at this weekend. It turned out that she had far too many bees herself and was thinking of getting rid of some of them. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

Coinciding with this was the delivery of my brand new beehive to sit alongside my other beehive that I picked up recently. I particularly love this old hive because it has such a beautiful smell. I guess it is the honey, pollen and propolis that over the years has soaked into the wood to give it the rich aromas it has. To be honest, it spent quite a while in the back of the car because of the smell. Wonderful.

Anyway, tonight's the night. To give the girls plenty of time to get back home after their day out foraging, pick-up time isn't until around 9.30pm. Sylvia will be securing the hive and strapping it up for me to transfer into the back of my car for the 10 mile trip from Topsham to their new place of residence in Budleigh Salterton. All should be fine, but I'll be taking my beesuit just in case there are any escaping bees on the journey. Tip from Sylvia is to throw a sheet over the top so that if any of the bees do escape, the won't be flying about in the car - that's the plan anyway.

There is a slight difference between Beehive #1 (older) and Beehive #2 (new) in that the older one of the two has a different floor layout. Basically it doesn't have the varroa tray or space where to put one so I need a little bit more time to work out how I would test for varroa without disturbing the hive too much. Because of this, I've decided that the girls will reside in Beehive #2.

In readiness, the sugar syrup has been mixed up this evening to a ratio of 1:1 (4 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water). As the bees will need to get their bearings, it's important that the colony is fed while they settle in and learn their way around. Without this food the bees would die of starvation. It's not enough to have a lawn full of dandelions and daisies, as it will be a growing colony with plenty of mouths to feed. Actually, looking out of the window as I type, I can see the lovely old horse chestnut tree in full flower. Two weeks ago, they were just sticky buds, but with a mix of warmer weather, sunshine and rain, the flowers are standing like candles. To one side is another tree full of cherry blossom and gardens are full of flowers blossoming. I have heard that bees fair better in suburban areas than in open countryside because of the diverse range of food available to them, so I'm confident my new colony will do well and settle into their new surroundings quickly.