Many many many mistakes were made today. Feel free to point them out.
So after months of enthusiasm and preparation I finally got two lured swarms (2 nucs) from my father’s friend. This was last night. Both the nucs got robbed today. I saw some fighting at the entrances this afternoon, but it looked like the nucs’ defences were holding up, so I made the obtuse decision of doing nothing but standing there; staring at them in panic and confusion.
Let me give some more background: I live in Cape Town, South Africa. My house is in a leafy suburb and the hives are in the back yard. The bees we have here are Apis mallifera capensis. Two weeks ago, I set up my hive (minus super) in a tree, as more than 90% of bees in South Africa are wild, and therefore it’s common practice to lure one’s own swarm. I made my own swarm lure (old wax comb melted down and mixed with some lemongrass essential oil) and painted this on the inside of the hive. Being an impatient idiot, I decided to place an entrance feeder (500ml) outside the hive in order to entice the bees in my hood to come investigate. The first bees arrived just 2 minutes after me placing the 1:1 sugar syrup outside and much to my delight, started to explore the exterior and interior of my hive.
After a little while the whole feeder looked like a black mass. For a week after that I refilled the feeder daily and later added another identical feeder and placed them in the entrance of the hive. I then contacted this friend of my father (who is a hobbyist beekeeper) to ask for advice on trapping swarms etc. He immediately advised me to stop putting out sugar syrup as it might lead to fighting between swarm and wild bees when said swarm eventually moved in. He then offered me two nucs. I gladly accepted but only stopped feeding the bees a couple of days after, as seeing and hearing those masses of bees filled me with so much delight.
In preparation for the coming nucs, I set up my mini-apiary, which is mere metres from the tree I had my hive in. I could not resist and I fed them in the new spot on one occasion.
A week later of not feeding and just seeing one or two curious bees coming and going around my apiary, the nucs arrive. We place them in their spot and removed the orange bag (bags you usually buy oranges in; nylon and weaved very loosely, orange coloured) that blocked the entrance. That was last night.
So today after seeing this mini-robbing taking place, I set up the two feeders once more, on a table about 100 metres away from the nucs in an attempt to divert the wild/not-my-bees’ attention away from my nucs. Sure enough they found the feeders and polished them within an hour. But the fighting did not stop. I went there now and found around 80 dead and close-to-dying bees under the nucs (50 under the one, 30 under the other) and also multiple lethargic bees just idly standing on the little fence around my nucs. I contacted this guy who gave me the nucs to ask for advice, but he hasn’t replied yet.
How do I remedy the situation? I blocked the entrances with the same orange bag fabric a little while ago, but I fear this might not allow my girls enough ventilation, especially during the heat of the day (tomorrow is 26 degrees).
Could someone please help this newbee fool?