Wednesday, 21 March 2012


So I moved G's hive (with G's help) last week. As we moved it he said "if we drop it just run!!!" Just what I needed to hear.

Now G's hive, the one he gave me, consisted of a stand, base, brood box, crown board and lid. Here's an exploded view of that lot.

As it stands now, old and new, with new fencing - windscreen!
There was no super on the old hive. This meant that all the winter stores of food and the new food stuff coming in from this years bee foraging expeditions were being mixed in with the brood (eggs of the next generation etc.,) so space in that little box was at a premium.

Yesterday, during a spell of unseasonably fine and warmish weather, I decided it was time to swap the contents of the old hive into my brand spanking new hive. On my own!

The air was thick with bees...
Donning my suit, I took the bull by the horns and moved in. The bloody smoker wouldn't light, that wasn't good, and worked intermittently whilst I moved the old hive off the slab where it sat and put the new one in its place. The bees were a bit narked. Although at this point they weren't narked at me so much. Nervously I plodded on.

There was a bit of a breeze (they're not keen on this) but the job needed doing. Prising the crown board off with the hive tool, a puff of smoke over the bees (damn this f**king smoker!) was administered to calm the fellas. I didn't hang about. The frames were taken out, carefully, one by one (some were firmly stuck with propolis) and placed in the new hive.

I did my best to inspect the frames but, in a controlled panic and knowing that it was still a bit chilly to be messing around too long in there,  I didn't have time to snap away with the camera too much - sorry.

Propolis (a kind of bee glue-very sticky, like set treacle)
All the brood frames were placed in the new hive. I didn't have time to check for the queen (she was unmarked anyway and difficult to spot quickly), and as the beads of sweat ran down my forehead (chicken sh*t. Ed.) I tried to stay focused and assemble the new hive.

More propolis & wax honeycomb on top of the frame
On went the queen excluder on top of the new brood box, now filled with the old, bee laden brood frames. Then on top of that went the new super with my new shallow super frames. Then the new crown board, then the lid. I stepped back to watch. This is how it goes back together.

In went the bees
The queen was supposedly on the brood frames I'd transferred over to the new hive. Not only that, but the new hive was in the same place as the old one and orientated the same way. So to them I guess, it was back to work as normal. A few hung around the old (empty) brood box...

I encouraged these blighters off here and onto the new hive.
At this point the neighbours on the next plot decided to go for a cuppa tea in thier caravan, sharpish! Good idea as the sky was humming! Still, my bees made an orderly entrance into their new home.

Right click on your mouse and 'view image' to zoom in a bit here...
I took out a couple of the brood frames at the outer edge of the hive (bees build from the warmer center of a hive first, moving outwards as a rule) and had a look as things quietened down a bit.

Some capped stores here on G's old frames
This will be moved 'upstairs' now into the super
I sat and watched them, suit off. They weren't bothered by their new Dad, they just wanted to get back to it.

I got stung once, through my marigold glove (marigold!?), yes marigold gloves. Usually they don't sting through these, thin though they are. It must have been my fault as a guard bee was inspecting me I didn't notice her and I obviously squished her a bit on my finger. No matter (for me, but poor old bee!)

Calm now. Notice the old dead winter bees from the old mesh base on the slab.

They seem happy now. Ish.

The thing I did notice, even during my controlled hysteria whilst moving the brood frames, was a queen cell. An emergency queen cell. I didn't / couldn't photograph this for you this time (eyes wide as saucers, heart racing, lol Ed.) but it has caused some major concern.

More to come later...


  1. That's really exciting. I've said before that I would like to keep bees in old (er) age, but I don't think it's going to happen.

    1. 'Course it is Tom! You'd be great at it. Plus you get to wear a funky white bee suit. Talk about babe magnet...

  2. Well okie dokie this was ermmm like reading Greek ROFL.. Going to have to bring those terms down to I don't know a thing at alllll about bees for some of us Chris! :O)or follow with a explanation of some of those terms LOL ... But I am glad you got your bees moved to the new hive, I think I did understand that was the point of what you were doing ;o) ...
    That is a sharp new bee box you have there!

    1. I know Tex, I know. Thing is it's all sprung on me almost overnight and is a bit overwhelming so bear with me.

      Explanations and jargon busting posts will follow, promise. :-)

  3. Phew! That was both exciting and interesting. I'm more than happy for you to be on the sharp end (sorry) I'll learn as much as I need to know from your posts. Really impressed that you were able to take photos too!!

    1. When you have your experienced mentor with you, it's easier (to do and take photos). More of a panic on your own for the first time Elaine, the concern was for the bees welfare rather than my own.

  4. New hive looks good! How did you manage to encourage those blighters to move to a new hive?

    1. With a bee brush! No really. It's an ultra soft brush, like a wallpaper brush, that you use to brush the bees off your suit, hive etc.

    2. Love the new photo too molly ;-)

  5. I just find all that so fascinating. Bees (and ants) have to be nature's greatest creations. And honey, her most generous bounty. More please.

    1. I keep the ants in my pants Cro. They're a bit itchy.

      More coming...

  6. I'm with Texan. Fascinated by the process, but the terminology had my head spinning (and I've been to a bee club workshop).

    How sweet that your concern was for the bees and their welfare (including the one that stung you). Your care shows in how only one stung you.

    1. Beleive me janet, my head is spinning like a scene from the Exorcist.

      I've got to dive into the hive again today to sort out this queen cell so prepare yourself for even more mind boggling jargon!

      I'll try and squeeze in some jargon busting posts soon but it's moving on so rapidly...bear with me.

  7. Weehooooooo!! Brave Ed! I love bees but find em terrifying. Want my own hive but I'm forbidden. One sting and I'm in hospital. More stories! More! Have you seen Miniscule? Loooove that show. Your hive antics make me wonder what the bees are thinking of you!

    1. Really Missus? Is it that anphalaxis shock thing? That's too bad, you'd be great at it I'm sure.

      The bees are thinking I look like a right Charlie in my bee suit...

  8. OMG. You made my heart NORMAL! ;-)

    I am so excited for you. I am studying each photo and taking careful note of what you do. Soon I will be a bee buddy. Magical creatures, aren't they. Oh Job well done! I listened to an active hive once, ear to box. It was amazing. It was hot and they were fanning their wings to keep the hive cool. I think. But it was awesome. For some reason I like getting a bee bite once in awhile. It makes me remember I have a body attached to this floating head of mine. Reminds me I am alive, and to wake the F up! Crazy right?

    I will be checking for the continuing story.

    Awesome, just awesome.


    1. Apparently crow, beekeepers don't get arthritis! Something to do with the beneficial effects of bee stings.

      I'm really hoping you get your bees sorted soon and we can compare notes asap. My WV bee-buddy! :-D