On the back of the hive startup malachy (and my all round generousness) I have been helping out Joe and Susie. Joe and Susie have been wanting to get into beekeeping for some years but had decided it was something out of their reach. They live in a village not far from my own and keep chickens (about 35), bake cakes, and make preserves. Bees would be a wonderful way to round out their country lifestyle. The barriers to getting there though had become in their minds insurmountable. The initial cost/outlay with no guarantee of success, the step from wanting to doing without learning seemed too difficult. As such, I handed Joe and Susie two warré bait hives. These are made up of a solid floor with entrance, two warré boxes (with windows), a warré quilt, and an insulated roof (as below X2).
I also provided old brood comb already hung on the top bars in one box of each warré. A ziplock bag and lemon grass oil. I threw into the equation a long lecture on swarms and swarming, and the best location and orientation of the hives.
That night, Joe was seen on the roof of his garage with a bait hive, a torch, and a compass. He was VERY keen. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that mid-march was a little early for swarms and he needn’t of rushed.
Mid-may came and there were excited texts about scout bee activity and this triggering bee-related dancing in Joe and Susie’s household.
Then on the 4th June we had a blindingly hot day after a whole week of rain. We celebrated with a BBQ and bouncy castle party for us and friends (that lasted 10 1/2 hours), and Joe and Susie celebrated with the arrival of their first swarm (though I am still put out they didn’t come to our party).
Two weeks later I popped round to check on progress. The bees had nearly built out the entire top box already. I discussed with Joe what needed doing (mostly watching through the windows). The great thing about using two warré boxes as a bait hive in this way is that the bees are already where you want them. The only downside can be that they are quite cumbersome to move and need attaching together securely. Whilst there I helped Joe site the second bait hive on the off-chance. I have since had worried messages from Susie saying Joe has been seen leaving the television during football matches to watch the bees. Joe insists this was just pre-match or during halftime but we are unsure. It was during one such “halftime” excursion on Monday that Joe noted bait hive number two was populated. I am almost as happy for them as they are for themselves. Joe has some box building to do now but he has a good start and I will be there to support them as and when they need it.
I will add some pictures to this post at some point.