I have taken advice and reduced my colony down to a nuc.
I was quite worried about doing this on my own, so before I set off I sat down quietly and worked out exactly what I needed to do and in what order. Also, what equipment I needed. Then I wrote myself a little check list… which was a good move as it made me feel much more confident once I started moving bees about. Mind you, I still had to go back home as soon as I got there as I found I had forgotten my hive tool!!
I think I should have put the nuc into position before starting to move the frames over – but this was a bit difficult on my own, so I moved the nuc back into position once I had finished. Firstly I found Guinevere, my little queen, and moved that frame, then I moved all frames which contained brood. But there was very little and it was quite patchy – but there were some eggs and young larvae. I also included a frame of stores and some pollen. I then shook all the other bees into the nuc – there seemed to be bees everywhere – but I stayed calm, closed it up and moved it into position.
Once this was done I treated them with Apiguard – just half a tub so as not to overdose them – and put in place a homemade ‘Apiguard eke’. Then I fed with a sugar solution (pint to pound), closed them up and crossed my fingers.
This weekend some of the other beekeepers will be doing shook swarms on their stronger colonies, so the plan is to introduce some brood and young bees into my nuc and see if that might help.
It looks so sad now. And if I am honest I don’t hold out much hope. In fact, feeling a bit gloomy, I went home and ordered an over-wintered nuc … just in case.
Two very good bits of advice I was given recently:
1. Know what you are going to do before you go to do it
2. ‘Look’ don’t ‘see’.
… and my bit of advice:
If you are unsure about something, take a bit of time, plan ahead and write yourself a plan of action.