Activity in this nuc had been decreasing over the last week. We've been worried about the nuc we brought back from Hororata: one of ...

Even stevens

By | Sunday, December 12, 2010 Leave a Comment
Activity in this nuc had been
decreasing over the last week.
We've been worried about the nuc we brought back from Hororata: one of the two hives being established in our own backyard and Andrew's Christmas present. We'd managed to get one of the two hives well established by introducing brood from one of the ex-Wainui hives providing that hive with the strong, dark bees that we purchased a few weeks ago. The blue hive has been showing healthy signs of growth and productivity.

We'd been reading a little on hive equalisation and how to carry out a bee exchange to move bees from one hive to another by swapping their positions. Apparently, bees returning to a hive which is not their own are not considered a threat so long as they are carrying pollen, nectar or water.

The plan

It took a little while for the bees to even
out the production line after the exchange
giving us a chance to capture some nice pics.
The plan we agreed on was to carry this out on the nuc and hive at Hawkswood Place. This was a slightly complex activity as we not only had to move the established hive (hive 1) to the left, we were creating a new hive (hive 2) to house the contents of the nuc where the hive 1 was previously located. We also agreed to check for the presence of the queen in both hives and to place a pink, not blue box, as the lower brood box on each hive, which meant moving hive 1's contents frame by frame to another box.

The result

Hive 1 relocated to the left
and the nuc established as
hive 2 on the right after the
We managed to carry out the exchange in less than fifteen minutes on Saturday and successfully found a healthy looking queen in each hive. We carried out the operation in the middle of the day (about 1PM) so that temperatures were warm enough not to affect the brood. As there were a number of bees out and about foraging, this also meant that a good number would be returning from hive 1 to hive 2.

Bees from hive 1 busy eating up the
feed: wax and honey scrapings from
the last honey extraction.
Distressingly, it looks like the temperatures in the nuc had fallen below 30 degrees, testament to the fact that there were insufficient bees to keep the brood warm. Much of the brood in hive 2 looked in poor health. We were tempted to introduce brood from the Croziers Road hives but are leaving the hive for a week to see if larger bee numbers will obviate the need for more hive rescue attempts.

By Sunday afternoon, hive 2 had
cleaned up all their special feed. Early
signs are for a healthy hive and
successful exchange.
As of Sunday evening both hives looked in good health and both were busy with foraging bees returning heavy with pollen and nectar. To help the bees settle after the disruption, on Saturday afternoon we fed them some scrapings from the last honey extraction and by Sunday afternoon hive 2 had cleaned up all the wax and honey and hive 1 was busy doing the same.
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