Had a wonderful time, even if slightly nerve-wracking, working with the bees this past Saturday. Day 2 being the practical day there was no ifs, ands or buts about it – you suit up, but some solid boots on and off you go to the hives!
We did hive inspections – taking them apart gently to inspect the new brood, the amount of honey for the bees to eat through (and if there wasn’t much we would add a bit of sugar-water to help them through) and looking for the queen to see how she is doing (we never did see a queen though…*sigh*). The first hive was very tranquil but the second one got a bit aggressive and the bees came after us. Trying to keep my heart rate steady I offered silent prayers that there were no holes in my suit! Thankfully I came through unscathed, although one of the other practitioners did get a few bees inside of his suit!
After the second hive things improved, or rather paled in comparison to the attitude of that aggressive colony! We did a few more inspections and then got to the real task: moving an entire colony from a conventional hive to an African top-bar hive. Basically, top-bar hives offer certain advantages over the conventional hive. They are adjustable in size (inside the hive you can control how much room the bees have), allow for the bees to make their own honeycombs instead of using pre-bought combs that are full of pesticides, herbicides and goodness knows what other “-cides”… and, from the bee-keepers perspective, they are more ergonomic and user-friendly!
The move went well and the bees seem to have taken to their new home very nicely :)
Gloved-up that I was I did manage to get a few pictures of our bee-keeping team: