Swarm Housed in a Triple Nuc Box
Another day and yet more beekeeping. Hopefully that’s all the intervention they’ll need for today though.
After catching the swarm from Clettwr yesterday it was housed in a temporary plastic nuc box overnight. We have run out of suitable equipment to accommodate any more colonies so borrowed a triple nuc box contraption from Ann. Essentially it is a brood box with an integral floor that has two internal dividers that split the main brood area into three small chambers the size of a 3 frame nuc box. There is an entrance on three side of the box allowing access to each of the three chambers.
So, this morning I moved the bees from the plastic nuc box into the middle chamber of the borrowed triple nuc box. I was going to leave it until this afternoon when the weather was supposed to be better, but when I checked on them this morning the bees in the plastic nuc box were quite active and there were lots coming and going. I therefore decided to re-house them earlier rather than later before they got too accustomed to their plastic nuc box. I wasn’t going to be able to place the triple nuc box in exactly the same place as the plastic one had been either so I wanted to get them in their new home as soon as possible.
I had to build a quick stand out of some spare bits of wood lying around. The stand is a little rustic (some people might even say wonky) but that’s just due to my lack of joinery skills. I placed the triple nuc box on this, transferred the bees on their frames and saw the queen in the process which was reassuring. Shook the bees from the other frames into the triple nuc box and then place the crown board on, added a super so that I could place a contact feeder into the hive and then put the roof on.
Some bees did fall into the side chambers of the triple nuc box but I was able to remove these with a little bit of smoke and some jiggery pokery. I then made sure the entrances to the side chambers were closed and open the entrance to the middle chamber. It wasn’t long before the bees were coming and going again.
Some bees were still loitering around the area where the plastic nuc box had been though so i puffed lots of smoke around here to try to mask any smell and also turned over some freshly mown grass cuttings here which will hel hide any bee smell too. No doubt some of the flying bees will return to the hive from which they originally swarmed from, but this doesn’t matter as that colony could do with a few more bees.
The good news is that we have caught and re-housed the swarm so didn’t simply lose half of our bees again, and the queen is safely housed in the triple nuc box so we didn’t lose her either.
We started off with two small nucleus colonies in our hives, ‘Clettwr’ and ‘Leri’, with their own queens Ffion and Alice. The current status is that we now have two smaller colonies in the original hives, both of which are in the process of re-queening. Alice has disappeared with a swarm from Leri, never to be seen again. Ffion left with a swarm from Clettwr but has been caught and re-housed in a nuc box. We also have a nuc box with and artifical swarm, complete with a couple of queen cells from Clettwr.
The plan now – if it’s worth having a plan – is to let all four colonies build up a little if they can and then later in the year merge them to give us two strong colonies to go into the winter with. That’s the plan, but no doubt the bees will be working to a completely different agenda all of their own.