The Danville, Virginia, swarm that I caught a little over a week ago is doing really well. I admit that I was a little worried after this catch. After all, in just one day they landed on a stake, then I placed them in a cardboard nuc, moved them to North Carolina at night, then kept them in my storage building overnight. The first thing on my mind when I woke up the next day was getting those bees in a permanent hive - then pray they would stay put.
As soon as it warmed up some (and I had a couple of cups of coffee), I got everything ready. That included putting the feeder on the front and getting the frames inside the hive so the bees could start building their new home. I added some clean "used" frames (ones that came from a previous colony which had been scraped clean) along with brand new frames sprayed with sugar syrup. With everything set up, all I would have to do now would be to move the frames out of the cardboard nuc to the new blue hive.
Here are the bees after I added them to the hive. The white, plastic frames are the ones that were inside the cardboard nuc. When I opened the nuc to remove the frames, the bees were extremely calm and very few of them flew around. Unfortunately I didn't see a queen, but based on their very calm demeanor, I believe the queen was in residence anyway. As soon as I got the bees settled into the new hive, I started to shut everything up.
Here you see the new colony as they get their bearings. Once I got the inner cover on the hive, the girls started peeking out. While this was probably a good sign, I was also a little apprehensive that they could still be in swarm mode. So I hurried to get everything shut up so they could settle down. I put the hive top on and covered it with a paving stone to weigh it down so the wind won't blow it off in a storm. Oh, and I kept my fingers crossed all day that they would stay put!
I went back about a half-hour later and found that the girls were already flying some. And oddly enough, they ventured out and took to the air faster than the colony I bought from Dadant. Before I left for work later in the afternoon, I noticed that air bubbles were rising in the feeder bottle every few minutes, so I knew they were taking the sugar syrup. And now, a little over a week later, they're taking one bottle of sugar syrup per day.
With the addition of the Danville bees, I now have four colonies in my back yard apiary. The Danville bees occupy the blue hive, the package from Dadant is in the yellow hive, and the green and orange hives are last year's stock. But there may be some news as far as the green and orange hives. With spring came the abundance of swarm cells in both hives, and I can't find my marked queens from 2010. I saw a new queen in the orange hive weeks ago, and now I'm finding frame after frame of eggs, larvae and capped brood. The green hive may be in trouble, but I'm working with them and hope to have good news soon. More on those hives later!
Once again I would like to thank the Jacob, Barbara and Kimberly Hairston of Danville for helping to save another colony of bees! Good job!
Bee vigilent everybody!