Back in January, after Bee School, the instructor invited a local commercial beek named Jerry to come down and talk to the students about purchasing nucs1 from him. She told us beforehand that his bees come highly recommended from all of her highly knowledgeable contacts, and that everyone she knew who had bought from Jerry in the past had been highly satisfied. She was planning to order two nucs from him herself.
On that recommendation, I went ahead and ordered a nuc from him. I was not, at that point, sure whether I was going to be able to split Rosemary this year. I wanted some “insurance” to make sure I was going into the honey flow with at least two colonies up and running. Well, that turned out to be unnecessary, but three is also a nice number, right?
We went up to Jerry’s place in Farmville today to pick up the bees for the re-boot of Thyme hive. We took a complete hive (screened bottom board, eight frame hive body box, outer cover, three frames) up to Jerry’s place. He installed the five frames he had set aside for me right into my hive body. Then we wrapped a cargo strap around the whole colony, put in an entrance reducer, and covered it with duct tape. Yay! Duct tape! Works for everything!
It felt a little odd to have a live bee colony sitting in the boot of my MINI Cooper for the two-hour ride home, but I guess it was no stranger than when we brought the two original packages home last year.
We got back to the PeaceThyme yard, the Hubs carried the colony out for me, and I opened it up to put a feeder on for them. As soon as I pulled that outer cover off, hundreds of workers came out to see what was going on and where they heck they were! It took some time, but I got the feeder and cover back in place. The Hubs has promised to make me another robber screen as soon as he has a spare minute.
1) Nuc = nucleus hive. One of the ways in which bees can be purchased. Usually includes five fully drawn frames comprising stored honey/nectar, brood, nurse bees, eggs, and a laying queen. “Nucs” are usually housed in special hive boxes that are five frames wide, instead of the usual eight or ten.