I have enjoyed reading all your blogs over the last few weeks, and would like to report from my central London apiary. I collected a nuc from near Ipswich on Sunday and put it in my tiny garden, unbeknown to the raucous lunch party members next door. The bees had been locked in since the night before, so rushed out to express their disgust when I unplugged the entrance. I watched them for a couple of hours while they settled down, found the water source, ignoring the flowering plants beside them. I left them for a couple of days, just watching to see if they were settling. Today I decided to do a ‘cut and crop’ to get them into the Warre hive. The vendor had marked the queen so I was ready with my queen catcher when I opened the nuc. I went through the frames three times before I realised that she must have swarmed off just before I collected the nuc. There was still uncapped brood, some stores, but the vast majority of bees were young. There were at least a couple of queen cells, so I decided to go ahead and cut down the frames in the hope that the colony would get a queen hatched soon.
During the process I had moved the nuc aside and put the Warre in its place, ready to receive the colony. Immediately the bees were interested, checking it out and attracting others to come and view. I had rubbed lemon grass on the floor, and beeswax on the walls and top bars. Cutting the National frames was only fairly successful – I will have to go back and make some adjustments. The bees which I had shaken into a box, I tipped into the top of the Warre. The stragglers I tipped on to a white cloth which sloped up to the entrance. After only about 20 minutes almost everyone was in.
I saw a handful of foragers with orange and yellow pollen in their baskets and there are some pollen and honey stores, but not a lot, and it is a small colony. The lime trees have just burst into flower at the weekend and I was hoping that would be enough for the bees. But perhaps I should consider feeding. I would be grateful for opinions.