16 August 2006

Sticking the bees in the hive

My hive is a WBC, the traditional-looking version with the slanted sides. The hive takes eight or nine (too busy to count) frames, and the bees arrived in a brood box from a National hive, which has one more frame than mine.

When the bees had calmed down, the first job was to take out one frame and make room to transfer all the others, inspecting them as we went, looking for the queen to make sure we had transferred her successfully.

First thing you notice - it's *very* hot in a full bee suit, even more so if you're a novice.

Eventually we found the queen, who was clutching on to the side of the old hive. Had we not found her, we might easily have left her outside.

Peter picked her up in a queen clip (a bit like a large hair clip, with enough room to let worker bees in and out, though not the queen) and then isolated her with a queen cage so he could mark her with a white dot.

The trick is to pick her up with the clip, then pop her back on a frame and trap her with the cage so you can mark her. In our case, Peter dropped her onto the frame - and she was off! She scarpered! I know I live near Wimbledon Dog Track, but this was ridiculous! Luckily we found her and marked her.