On Friday, Mom drove to Navasota to pick up our three nucs of bees. She ended up with a few loose bees in the car, but they gravitated toward the rear window so they didn’t cause much disruption. (All the same, I’m happy to leave the bee transport duties to her!) When she arrived, I was suited up and had the smoker ready to help her get the bees out of her car.
A nuc is a package with a few frames from another established hive, a bunch of bees, and a queen. Our job was to remove the frames (and the bees along with them) from each of those white boxes and install them into our waiting hives. The first hive we did too soon after we got them home, and they hadn’t really settled down from transport yet. That meant the bees weren’t as calmly settled onto the frames as they should have been, and there were more left in the box than necessary. We propped the open box in front of the hive so they could find their way in. I also forgot to check the frames for the queen as I placed them in the hive. We were pretty confident she was in there (she wasn’t left in the box), but it’s ideal to see her to make sure she’s healthy and where she belongs. The next two installations went much more smoothly, as the bees were calmer and I was more confident. We spotted each of the other two queens quickly and were able to make sure they got in safely. Then we stuffed the entrances to the hives with grass to help protect the bees from invaders while they’re getting settled in, and added a feeder of sugar-water to each hive to help them produce the wax they need to draw out the comb in their new hives. We’ll keep feeding them for a while — I ordered 50 lbs. of sugar tonight!
Today Dad helped me open up the hives again to make sure everything looks like it should. The first order of business was to make sure we could find the queen in hive #3, the first one we installed. We found her quickly.
Here’s the frame she was on. Can you find her? She’s marked with a yellow dot on her back, and she’s larger than the others.
After we found her, we looked to see if we could find evidence that the queens are laying and that the workers are drawing out comb. It’s a little early to see much of that yet, but things looked good.