I'm a new beekeeper this season, and have been given one hive by a friend, and I've been taking evening classes with my local club. The club apiary has about 6-10 hives, and we are divided up into about 4 groups, complete beginners, novice, intermediate and advanced. Each group has a teacher. The teacher for the complete beginners (where I am) is the regional bee-inspector, and really knows his stuff, and the latest official tecniques for control of varroa, EFB etc. At a recent apiary meeting, his partner mentioned she had some Nuc's for sale, at Â£35 thats about $65. "Who better?" thought I, to buy from, as they a going to be in A1 condition.
Anyway, I injured my back recently (ruptured disc), and I am unable to lift or do much at all. Very kindly, they agreed to bring the nuc down and install it for me, without me having to lift a finger. Given it's their day off, and they had to drive down to me (about 1 hour away) it was extremely kind.
They arrived mid-morning, and put on clean outfits, disposiable gloves, and scrubbed all their hive tools with water/washing soda. This is to ensure no disease is carried from one apiary to the next. (He inspects hundreds per week). Heavens knows what their laundary bill must be
In this picture, you can see three hives, the closest it empty, just storing empty supers with foundation, the middle hive (in bits) is the one we are about to use, and the hive at the end is active. The "Nuc box" can be seen on the stand, with a yellow strap thats just been released. click on image for larger view
They've set up a brood box (a "National" the most common british size in the UK, although we have many other designs, WBC, Commercial, Smith, Langstroth - all pretty similar). A few frames of foundation have already been installed, the "nuc" has been brought over and opened, and now time to transfer the frames over. click on image for larger view
Checking for the queen as they go, unfortunately not seen on this occasion. click on image for larger view
Bit of a gap in the photos here, but they added a 5pint feeder of strong suger syrup to assist in drawing the comb. The floor is open-mesh for varroa control. click on image for larger view
Because they added the feeder during the day, some of the syrup ran through the hive and through the floor, to minimise robbing, we needed to put and enterance block in. Unfortunately the only one I had was too big. However, being the bee-inspector, he had a car full of tools and a little saw in and amongst, so we popped it on. They then washed any remaining sugersyrup off the floor. click on image for larger view
All finished, a quick spray of water to ensure no traces of suger syrup on the hive. You can see the empty "nuc" box at the front of the picture. click on image for larger view
The bees were looking a bit distressed after the journey, but thousands took to the air as soon as the box was opened so it can't be too bad! I've been amazed by how people have rallied around to help me with the tasks I can't manage.
PS: If anyone wishes to use the pictures for any non-commercial use, feel free, I grant you permission. Also, you are welcome to use the text elsewhere on your website if you wish Mr Beemaster!