A few weeks ago I moved my two little colonies in nuc boxes to a new location closer to home. I’d never had to move bees before, so asked other beekeepers for tips beforehand and as luck would have it the BBKA News that landed through my door that day had an article all about moving bees.
The main thing with moving bees is make sure the bees can’t get out.
Earlier in the day I had put ventilated travel screens on top of both nucs, then left their roofs resting on them just in case it rained (it didn’t). Around 9pm, as the darkness of evening was drawing in, I returned and turned the dial at their entrance to the ventilation only setting. Very quick and easy. I had a kind helper with strapping the boxes together and moving them up to the car.
I haven’t been driving that long, and never with bees, so was a little nervous, particularly going over bumpy country lanes. I hadn’t anticipated the sound of the bees hitting the travel screen as they repeatedly flew up.
The roads I was driving down were very quiet at that time of night, so much so that for about the first fifteen minutes I only passed a couple of other cars. Was nice to be able to take it slowly without worrying about other drivers.
None of the bees got out, and they are now settled nicely. One recently hatched queen is now laying and the other colony appears to be queenless, so I’m planning to combine them this week. I will need to think of a new Cornish name for the queen, a long dark beauty. Any suggestions?
As I was inspecting over the weekend I heard a sudden thud and something landed on the ground next to the hive. When I looked more closely, it was a baby bird, hairless and still. A baby blackbird perhaps. Its huge eyes were now permanently closed. I suddenly thought of my own children at a day old, so vulnerable and delicate. By the next day, its skeleton had been stripped to the bone. Somehow, life keeps going, and the remaining blackbirds keep flying.