Two days later, armed with table, garden tree choppers, bread knife and wire cutters we started our natural bee keeping!
Melanie explained to the bees what was about to happen, their transfer from nucleus box to the Warre top bar beehive. They do say to be calm, polite and gentle when handling bees. I was at this monument open to anything that was going to help.
I did have the hose pipe around the corner, like a riot van / water cannon out of site set on mist jet just in-case all got out of hand. The task before us, especially for armatures seemed anything but calm. This disturbance, once only for the bees I convinced myself, whispering this apology to the nucleus box.
Now I would recommended you watch Phil Chandlers video of this operation on his website Biobees, I watched it endless times (Its properly got record viewings by now) mentally practicing every step of the procedure so we could mirror the smoothest possible transfer of bees.
No options, the bees are in our care, we proceeded. I have got to say at this point it’s worth checking you’re tucked in, don’t rely only on the elasticized waist band of your bee jacket alone. It’s a bit disconcerting Melanie will tell you when a three / four bees are flying around inside your hood!
How did we get on, well it’s certainly dramatic, there is a rush of adramlin and its bizarrely addictive shaking your first frame of bees into the Warre box, trimming the frames was at times a bit devastating, they were also less strong than I would have imagined and honey is sticker than you already knew. It was a full on experience!
Actually after our first hive we retreated to the house for a cup of tea and several slices of cake, really a mental rest was required.
We were pleased with our success, thankful for rehearsing every step, shocked by the exhilaration of handling the bees, the intensity of the exercise, guilty for a number of grubs, guilty at understanding also why beekeepers simply have to keep dabbling in their hives. None of that for us however, the bees were now in their home, their hive, their nest.