Well, our friend Dave (the beekeeper) has been having fun with his bees recently at another local Allotments (about 5 miles from our plots), on Friday he had 2 swarms, and another today, so after filling all of his nucleus boxes with existing colony divisions he rang us today and asked if we could take one of our hives down there, to take a large swarm that they had captured!
After loading up the MINI with a brood box (complete with frames and foundation), base, varroa floor, an empty super, queen excluder, crown board and roof, we made our way down to the other plot to meet up with Dave. We donned our bee suits for the first time (to use with the bees), then made our way into the apiary to assist Dave with moving the swarm from its temporary nucleus box into the hive that we set up down there!
As we wont know for a few weeks whether the swarm has a viable queen (one that is mated and capable of laying fertilized eggs) we've left the hive on the other plot for the time being, as if its a new 'virgin' queen, then she will have to have several 'mating flights' where she becomes fertilized by the drones, and as there are quite a few hives over there, then that is the best place for fertilization to occur!
Hopefully the swarm will find the new hive to its liking, we should know over the next few days whether they decide that they are going to stay in the hive, hopefully the feeder that we set up in the empty super will encourage them to stay and start drawing out the foundation to allow the queen to start laying! Once we are sure that the queen is viable, then we will move the hive to the apiary on our plot! With any luck (if the weather remains favourable), we may even get another split from our first hive to enable us to set up a colony in the second hive in the apiary, if this is successful, then next year we will need to set up the second apiary on our other plot and get hives set up on there!