Feral swarm transfer and 2nd Warré harvest
Stormy weather today for the German Paragliding open, so plenty of time to do some bee jobs which need to be done. A few day ago I removed from a tree one of my few successful bait hives. It was a cylindrical double walled plastic piece of tubing, normally used for drainage, which I cut to a volume of around 40litres, coated the inside with bees was, and made an entrance smothered in propolis. The top was sealed with a Warre sized top bar grid, and on top of this covered with cloth, and on top of that sealed with plastic to make it watertight.
The idea was that I could just lift out a small colony straight into a Warre box with minimal disturbance. However, this colony had already grown to a weight of around 20kilos (honey, wax and bees and container), so any attempt to transfer to a standard box would involve lots of comb breakage and distress for the bees. I decided to leave them in the container, but remove the bottom an put them over a joining board so that they can grow down into a Warre box and use one of my adapted Warre floors for varroa monitoring. Paul and Peter helped, and the transfer can bee seen in the photos.
After this I removed a Warre box full of honey which as been a few days with a clearer board separating the top box from the rest of the colony (this is essentially a board that allows the bees to leave the top box, but which makes it more difficult for them to go back up. Thus after a few days you can remove the honey harvest without too many bees to worry you. There were perhaps 50 or so bees, a few more that the last time it did it. Maybe leaving it on for so long (5 days) some bees learnt how to access the top again. I now have the box full of comb honey which I will cut and drain tomorrow if there is time