Swarm update - moving into the hive
Two evenings ago, we drove the truck to the swarm trap after dark, covered up the opening and drove it back home. We set them on their future hive, a kenyan top bar hive (KTBH), uncovered the opening and left them for the night. (Yes, that's my hockey bag in the truck. I had to get to a late night hockey game right afterwards.)
One of the concerns we have is that the trap was only about a Km from the bees' new hive. Likelyhood was that the bees would go out collecting and return back their old spot. We looked into a bunch of options (including moving them a longer way away for a few days. In the end, we moved them to the hive, but put a bunch of branches right in front of the entrance to confuse them a bit when the came out. The idea being that it forces them to reorient themselves.
(I should clarify something. We actually went to bring the trap back 3 nights ago. However, while we were discussing options for covering up the entrance, one or more coyotes started howling VERY near where we were. I am not particularly fearful of a single coyote, but the number was unknown and there is something about being in the pitch dark, cornered against the river, and zipped up in my bee suit, with nothing but a pair of pliers and some duct tape to defend myself that unmanned me. I had the distinct impression that the pack was being alerted to pre-wrapped, easy pickings found near the river. We chose to defer till the next night. Can't believe I left the German Shepherd in the truck.)
This morning, we went out to the trap and dove into the unknown project of moving them into the hive. We had no idea what we were up against, but we were hoping they would have built nice organized comb on the top bars. It wasn't that, but it wasn't terrible either ....
This is the trap, with a few bars removed. They had definitely built some decent comb, mostly straight, on the top bars.
There were also lumps and chunks of comb piled on the bottom. I would say that it fell when we moved it, but it was really adhered to the bottom.
So we hung the top bars in the KTBH and picked out the chunks of comb and for the most part shook the bees into the hive.
Now, the comb didn't quite fit into the hive, so we had to cut it at an angle to get it into the kenyan. Over all, moved in ok. This picture below is the bar moved into the kenyan before we cut the comb. You can see the honey dripping because the comb was squished against the side.
Now, our big concern is that there was no sign of a queen, LOTS of honey and no brood (that we could find). Hmmmm. Tons of bees and we swear we saw pollen being brought into the trap last week.
We rehung a trap back in the same location to catch bees that went home to the wrong spot. Definitely activity there today so I will go down tonight and bring it back and shake the bees into the new hive.