“I’m so pleased and relieved that you are home.” The postman grinned nervously. “I didn’t want to put this back on the van.”
He gently laid the nucleus box of bees on our doorstep. The nucleus box is a temporary container that holds the brood frames securely. There are several little grills on the sides to let air in but not allow bees to escape.
“Have they been buzzing a lot?”
“Yes. Particularly down at the post office. All the others were laughing.”
I thought it best not to mention the time when I collected my first new colony of bees and they started to make their way out of the nuc into the car as I was driving home.
Our new colony of Buckfast bees arrived last Thursday. They had to rest in their travelling nucleus box for 24 hours before being transferred to the hive. The instructions noted to open a little doorway on the front so that they could start to explore their new environment.
Danny’s beesuit had transformed into a comfortable mouse condominium over the winter so it was just me who stepped out to locate doorway in the box. It was covered with parcel tape and it was clear that the bees were not too keen on the sound of ripping tape. So I scuttled inside for a scalpel. Within a few seconds a handful of bees were out in the air around me.
Having been cooped up for quite some time, this was the acid test for the supposed temperament of Buckfast bees. There was just one death wish dive bomber, the rest just buzzed about ignoring me completely.
On Friday the transfer of the frames from the nucleus box to the hive went smoothly. The bees were given a feeder holding 1.7 litres of water and sugar solution – this helps in the production of wax to draw out the frames in the brood chamber. I will go into the hive after five days to check that the queen is laying well. If the bees have drawn out all the brood frames, I can remove the sugar solution and put the honey supers onto the hive
Why did we choose to invest in Buckfast bees? These bees are generally docile, fly in cool weather and produce good harvests of honey. We also thought it would be interesting to compare the standard UK honey bee with the Buckfast bee.
We have sited the hive in a warmer spot in the garden beside a large raised strawberry bed.
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