Another short, photo-less update. We returned to the bees this evening, in between the showers, to find that the Nuke had only about 100-200 bees in it, with no brood left. And no stores. It was merge or lose them. But we’d discussed this at some length with Simon and Geoff over the last week, so were ready with a big sheet of the Guardian, a Super box, and feeders for both main Hives. And a big milk bottle full of sugar syrup.
In the newer hive, there was building and laying going on, but they were seemingly low on food. So first, on top of the queen excluder, we laid the sheet of newspaper, and used a craft knife to poke a number of small holes in it. We then added the Super box on top, with no frames, and started shaking the bees off the frames from the Nuke into it. This was hard work for both of us, so although I had my phone to hand to take photos, I didn’t get the chance. We then put the feeder on top of that, and poured in 2 litres odd of syrup. We also dripped some on a frame, and put that back in the Nuke for a while.
We did a quick inspection of the main hive. All’s well, but there were bees in both Supers, suggesting the gap between Spring and Summer flowering was affecting them, and they’d started relying on stores. We returned the repaired end-board to the brood box, put the feeder on top and put in over a litre of syrup, and left them in peace.
Back to the Nuke, nearly all the bees still in there were now on the frame we’d dripped syrup on, making it easier for me to lift off the feeder, and Emily to then shake and brush the remaining bees into the empty Super. Once we were sure they were all out, I put the feeder back on again.
The idea is that by the time the bees above and below the paper have eaten the holes cut in it big enough to get through, they’ll be used to each other’s smell, and will merge happily. All the bees will then have access to the feeder. And tomorrow or Saturday we’ll return and put the frames from the Nuke that have been built on to fill up the new Hive.
There is still a severe lack of frames for our style of Hive in the UK. So we can’t add a Super yet, and didn’t even have enough Jumbo frames for the brood box while we were using the Nuke. But hopefully that will be corrected soon.