You may recall I had a bit of an altercation last year with some jerk from down the street and that I was planning on moving a hive to the allotments. By the time I got permission it was too late in the year but I spent the last couple of weeks making a bee enclosure.
The aim of a bee enclosure isn’t to enclose bees, it’s to force the little buggers to fly upwards rather than outwards when they leave the hive. That way fellow allotment holders don’t get bees formation flying at eye height. Laziness abounds in my ‘design’ – I bought 3m beams and I want to keep sawing to a minimum ( ie. none).
Before moving them, the bees need a check over. The casualties of the winter litter the ground in front of the hive, it looks ominous but there are plenty of bees inside, they still have some stores yet, I’ve found the Queen and I’ve seen brood.
There are empty combs in the nest which isn’t surprising and tell tale signs of winter activity – the few workers that didn’t make it to emerging as the cluster moved away to fresher stores depriving them of the warmth they needed.
The night before the move, once the bees had finished flying I blocked up the entrance and put straps around the hive – it’s only gravity that keeps these boxes stacked.
The next morning I borrowed a flat bed trolley and attempted to get the hive on it. Thirty seconds later I was swearing quite loudly for 9am on a Sunday – never drop a hive, it annoys the bees. The straps kept everything together but the entrance blocks came out releasing a pile of bees. I had no choice but to put the hive upright and wait until sunset for everyone to calm down.
I checked them the next morning – bees are flying happily and bringing pollen back to the hive so all seems to be right. I’ll leave them well alone for a few weeks to get over the disruption before I have another look inside.