The bees have been living at A Space 2 Grow for a couple of days now and one of the things they require is feeding. When a colony is at full strength bees are normally self sufficient and can forage enough pollen and nectar to feed them all. However, when you purchase colonies in the way we have they come quite small and so need a bit of help to get the colony properly established.
I have made up some bee food from 1kg of sugar dissolved in 1l of water and this has been placed in feeders that sit on top of the colony.
The bees come up through the hole in the top of the hive and into the feeder to drink the sugar syrup. We will keep feeding them until the colony is able to forage enough food to support itself.
It was good to see a few bees going in and out of the hive and it suggests they are settling in nicely to their new home. Though still being small colonies the hive entrances are not that busy.
The first inspection will be early next week when we will know for sure how they are finding things.
Here at A Space 2 Grow we have been borrowing colonies of bees from our bee keeping mentor Ian Campbell. Well, last Sunday these borrowed bees were returned and today two colonies of bees arrived from Stamfordham bees
The colonies come in these polystyrene nucleus boxes containing a queen (marked with a yellow dot), some worker and drone bees, some eggs and larvae, and a bit of honey to get them started.
Ian Campbell has been teaching us how to keep bees, is the Vice Chair of Newcastle Bee Keeping Association and helped transport and get the new bees on site.
Bees have very good internal maps of the world and use landmarks to find their way back to their home hive. Therefor you either move bees just a few feet or over three miles to stop them getting confused. Luckily we were moving the bees considerably further and the move initially looks successful.
The bees showed some initial confusion, but once the queen scent is picked up the bees found their way into the hive. When some bees find the hive entrance they then open a gland on the end of their body called the Nasonov glandand fan scent into the air. This attacts the bees to the hive.
The aim for this year is to build the strength of these colonies up so they can survive winter.
A Space to Grow is waiting to get two colonies of bees later in the year, but this week Ian Campell, who has been teaching the group how to keep bees, lent us two colonies to get some experience.
These are now positioned behind the bee shed and meditation garden. However, two colonies today became three after during the first practical bee lesson an artificial swarm was required.
It transpires since Tuesday, when the bees arrived, they had been busy rearing a new queen to divide themselves. The first practical lesson was therefore more dramatic than expected but it seems bees will work to their own timeframe.