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Yay! First bees!!

I got my bees today!!! An overwintered nuc. When it arrived, it turned out to be 12 full brood frames, marked last year's queen, and loads and loads of bees. The beek brought along the whole hive including super. Transferred the brood frames into my new Dartington hive, and shook the bees from the super into it as well.

One issue is that the brood frames are standard Nationals, and a Dartington is 14x12. So, I've put several 14x12 frames at each end of the 12 Stds Nationals. Plan is to move the Nationals out one at a time behind the 14x12s and thererfore gradually swap them out.

I've added 4 new Dartington supers on the top, 2 of which have frames and one of which holds the feeder with syrup to keep them fed whilst they find their feet again.

The bees have been flying around the hive all today, getting their bearings. They seem to have settled in to the Dartington quickly, figuring out the under-hive entrance. The Beek reckons they could fill the supers really quickly, maybe even by next week! So am building some more.

It's the first time I've ever kept bees, and am really excited at being able to do it at last!

Good oh. You lost me slightly between 'today!!!!' and 'It's the first time...' but good luck with them and may they be productive rather than stingy.

Good oh. You lost me slightly between 'today!!!!' and 'It's the first time...' but good luck with them and may they be productive rather than stingy.

I understood it all. Very Happy

Well done.

I was called out to a local school yesterday, as they thought they had bees. They did , bumble bees!

Well, today they've been out again, and are coming back with pollen, so they've found something to harvest. They really are gentle bees ... I can sit in an arbour about 8 feet away from them, and no hassle at all.

The cats seem to ignore them, and the bees seem to ignore tha cats. One cat has decided that sitting under the hive is a good place to watch life passing by!

Popped over to my local bee supplier, and he was getting calls about swarms every few minutes whilst I was there.
Mistress Rose

You may be able to tell what they are picking up by the colour of the pollen if you can sit so close. Sure it is on the internet somewhere, and know it is mentioned in a number of beekeeping books.

there is a list here

We had to do a very quick artificial swarm yesterday.
We must have missed a queen cell at some point.
It was very nerve racking, the bees were just about to swarm.

What you have done will work but they will build comb at the bottom of the standard brood frames.
It's not a big issue but handle them carefully during inspection.
Another way to transfer would be to put them over the dartington like a super & when the queen has moved (or been moved) below, an excluder will keep her there till the upper box has been vacated of brood.

Thanks for all the advice. However....

My bees swarmed this morning. I only got them on Friday morning.

They settled on a tree in the garden, so with the help of a local beek, we moved them into a box on a sheet. A couple of hours later when I went to put them into a hive, the box was empty. Had a look around the area, but couldn't see them.

So my expensive, new bees and queen have now gone.

I've got the ones left in the hive who are growing a new queen, but it'll take a while for that to get established. There were several queen cells in the comb, including empty ones.

Am a bit annoyed at them swarming so soon after I got them. And am surprised that the beek who sold me them hadnt seen the queen cells. Or am I expecting too much?

I was going to inspect them on Sunday, leaving them Saturday to get over their journey down here (which was about 1.5 hours drive).

Damn! Yes they should have noticed the queen cells!

Hopefully the ones that are left will build up and you'll get some honey next year!

I would expect them to have at least told you.
We bought a full colony last year but was told of swarm preparation & as we where looking for increase we didn't mind.
Divided three ways did mean we had no honey 2013 but three colonies now means we should get some this year.
As they have swarmed you might consider dividing the remainder to make two.
As long as there are one or two good queen cells in each they should be OK.
Left as they are you will probably get secondary swarms as the virgin queens emerge.
Having one hive can be a liability if you suddenly find them queen less.
Having two gives you a lot more options.

So an update. I just checked the hives. I've got 2 dartington hives, the bees were in one. When they swarmed, they created 2 larger masses and one small cast. I got the small cast into a nuc straight away, and put that in the second hive. I added a frame of food from the original hive along with a frame of brood/eggs to keep them occupied.

Today, there seems to be bees flying from both hives, and returning to their seperate hives. So looks like i've got 2 colonies now. I checked the original colony just now. There seem an awful lot of bees to be only half a colony. I think the bees flew back to their hive.

I couldn't find the marked queen but that's not to say she isn't there. The bees are drawing out both new brood and super foundations like mad.

It's good you put some brood in with the swarm. It's rare for a swarm to leave if there's brood to tend.
Double check though in a weeks time. tThey may draw out new queen cells from any eggs that might have been on the comb.
Sometimes a swarm takes a few days to lose the swarming impulse & even if they have loads of room will still build more cells if presented with the opportunity & swarm later.

Also with regards to absconding swarms once caught.
I find if you use the same box, skep or whatever receptacle all the time, the container absorbs the swarm smell & makes it more acceptable to the bees. Rubbing a bit of old brood comb in the top helps too.
When caught put it in the shade where it's cooler & darker not in full sun.

Here are my 2 hives. Bees flying in and out of each.

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