Back to three
On June 4, 2021 I added another nuc to my beehive family. This was also from Mary Bouma. I put it in my tan long hive. The only wrinkle was that the commercial beekeeper had just come the day before and placed 60 or more hives less than a half mile from my hives. I had set up the empty hive in anticipation of getting the nuc and had put two partial frames of honey in it. Because of that, it was swarming with robber bees the night before installing the nuc. I picked up the nuc and then proceeded to install it in the prepared hive. I removed the two honey frames to get the robbers a bit distracted. I also had neglected to put inner covers in the hive, so I added those and made sure the entrance notches were placed on the opposite side from where most of the robbers were trying to get in. I put the nuc in the hive, closed it up, then set a sprinkler so it gently cascaded over the hive to further deter the robbers. By the third day after installation I saw no more robbing activity. I had seen a small amount of attempted robbing on the other two hives the first day the bees arrived, but they quickly gave up on the occupied hives.
On June 14, 2021 I checked all three hives. The blue long hive was covering 10 full frames. I did some rearranging to prepare for honey flow and encourage them to fill out more frames. The vertical hive was almost identical in strength, and I did the same in that hive, to encourage a more even drawing out of frames. The new hive was very grumpy. I am not sure if it was because they are still recovering from their rough start, or if they felt crowded. I had an empty frame with plastic foundation at the back of the brood nest, which I moved further back in the hive. I didn't have a smoker, so I didn't dig into that hive at the moment. It was covering around seven frames, which in ten days was pretty good if they are all bees that belong there. Since it was morning, I am thinking they were.
Yesterday afternoon (June 14, 2021) there was a lot of "honeyflow" activity on the two older hives. The new hive did not have much. I can see a lot of buds on the lower branches of basswood trees, but perhaps the higher blooms are already open. It looks to be a tremendous basswood year if the trees I look at daily are any indication. That is a relief because the weather has been hot and dry and tree bloom is needed because they have deep root systems and can get to water that the shallower rooted plants cannot. Most blooms have been very short due to hot, dry and quite windy conditions so far. If the basswood is indeed starting to bloom it is almost two weeks earlier than normal.
I have a field day on Saturday June 19, 2021. We will look at at least the two older hives, one of each style, and will also do a forage "walk about".