Bees Return

Tuesday, June 20th 2017

Today really started yesterday with us, the Reserve Managers, making a new exit/entrance tunnel for the Field Centre bee hive. This morning with the arrival of a new colony of bees we assembled the new clear tunnel which replaced the old propolis-coated perspex. Propolis, or bee glue, is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps, while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. It is known to contain antibacterial substances.

With the display hive cleaned and ready to receive the new bees,....

.... Allister and Alison Shepherd, from the Richmond & District Beekeepers’ Association, arrived and opened the ‘nuc’ or small hive, to put the new bees into their new home.

The first thing to do was to find our new queen. She is the most important member of the hive, as mother to all the other bees. Without her the hive cannot produce the worker bees that do all the work in the hive including feeding the bee grubs, cleaning and guarding the hive, foraging for pollen and the production of honey.

 Finding the queen is not an easy task, so the frames were examined until she was found…

….placed in a plastic container and marked with a special paint, in this case yellow for ease of checking her.

With the queen marked she was put into our hive and as many of her bees placed with her on the brood and food store frames.

Now she was safely in the hive we blocked any exits and carried the heavy hive to its inside location in the Field Centre.

The bees that were flying around outside or on the remaining frames were placed near the hive entrance where they gradually made their way into the new home.

Fanning bees stood at the entrance wafting pheromones to the confused bees outside their new hive as if to say, all is OK and your queen is in here!

All that remained was to clear up....

....and watch the bees make their way in and continue with the work at hand.

Thank you to Allister and Alison for all their hard work and dedication to keeping bees here at Foxglove Covert. Also, thank you to all the hard working volunteers who carried out a multitude of other jobs today!


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