More Hives to Help Canberra
Over the past week we selected more hives for relocation to Canberra in our next round of hive hosting. The hives in our country apiaries are doing very well so it was easy to choose hives for Canberra. The hives we selected were prepared by the extended Honey Delight family. The hives had been through our usual re-queening program and all have had new queens this summer.
You can read more about our queen breeding program here
One hive was given a new queen the day before it was moved and this means it is well prepared to manage our Canberra winter. The queen is placed between the frames in a small tube-like container.
On the day we made our final selection we travelled to a load of bees that had been in the same location for the past 6 months. It is located in an area with a large number of mature eucalypt trees, native grasses and ground flora. Our master beekeeper (my Dad, Len) opened and closed the gate on the way into the bee site.
The road into the bee site is a dirt track and the bees are well hidden. Can you see them in the distance?
As we get closer , its easier to see the load of bees that will give us the next Canberra hives.
When selecting the hives, we do a final check of the brood box where the baby bees and queen are. We look for pollen and freshly gathered nectar. We also check that the queen is still in good health.
When we were happy with the health of the colony we then looked at the external appearance of the boxes. We wanted pretty ones because we appreciate our hive hosts are quite proud of their gardens. When we looked we thought the silver wasn’t pretty enough, so we decided to change some of the silver boxes for yellow ones.
We looked through the entire load of bees to find the pretty yellow bee boxes.
The yellow box had to be one of the top three boxes on the hive, because the bottom is the brood box where the queens and baby bees are.
We double checked that the hives were healthy and that new yellow boxes weren’t going to carry any bee diseases with them. Many people may not understand the amount of “infection control” that we do in our beekeeping world. We are always checking that hives aren’t sick in any way because we can inadvertently transmit bee diseases between hives through poor beekeeper hygiene
When we had our pretty yellow boxes we transferred the frames and bees of the Canberra hives into their pretty boxes.
By the end of the day we had prepared the pretty hives for transport for Canberra. Notice how the hives for Canberra are only two boxes high.
The rest of this load of bees still has three boxes of honey on them. Two boxes of honey were taken off the Canberra hives as part of their preparation for the big move to Canberra. There is no way Todd and I could have carried a four box hive into a Canberra back yard – they are far too heavy!!
We always leave one box of honey on the hives so they have stores of honey to prevent starvation and this means we do not have to feed the bees sugar, corn or rice syrup.
The abundant native flora in Australia and the absence of bee mites (like varroa) means Australian beekeepers do not routinely feed their bees syrup.
When the hives settle into their new homes in Canberra we put a new box in the middle – that box of honey will become Canberra Urban Honey
We returned the next day to load the hives into our ute and make the journey to Canberra.
That, story, dear readers, will be our next blog post
and the Honey Delight Family