I’m new to beekeeping (2 weeks) however I’m very much enjoying learning all I can about this wonderful hobby. This forum has certainly been very help indeed. I’m hoping however that someone could shed a little light on a situation I’m experiencing at the moment which relates to my current temporary Hive Setup, and also about Guard Bees. I’ll first give you an overview of the setup I’ve currently got, & how I’ve rather rapidly become involved with bees.
2 weeks ago I had to relocate a hive of bees that landed about three years ago in a gum tree in my backyard. I live on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. The bees actually took over a large Parrot Nesting Box which was situated about 5 meters up in the gum tree. Up until now the bees have always been completely left alone, as would normally be the case in the wild. However unfortunately the gum tree had been developing some serious issues for quite some time so i had to have it removed.
Before cutting it down though I decided to purchase my first ever brand new 8 frame hive for the Parrot Box bees to live in. The plan after removing the Parrot Box/Bee Hive from the tree was to temporarily connect it to the top of the new box. To achieve this I blocked the Parrot Boxes original entry point & I drilled a 40mm hole in the bottom of it, & another hole in the top of the new hive box. I then aligned the 2 holes & strapped the 2 boxes together. This way the bees can continue to have and maintain their original hive as our winter approaches. I’m hoping in time that the bees will move down into the new box & i’ll then eventually be able to remove the Parrot Box completely. Their only entrance/exit now is via the bottom of the new box. Both boxes are sitting on a timber stand I built which is raises them approximately 600mm from the ground.
Anyway, all went very well with the relocation, and the bees certainly appear to be carrying on with their lives in their new palacial home, that’s now located in a much more suitable part of my yard, which gets lovely morning sun & afternoon shade. At the moment they appear to be continuing to live primarily in the Parrot Box & also clustering to the underside of the new hive lid, where the 2 holes I made connect.
With regard to my current setup, my intention for the next 6 or so months is to leave the bees alone to allow them to fully settle in & get through winter. I’ll then probably put a honey super on top of the current new box, & remove the Parrot Box once they’ve moved down. I haven’t inspected the contents of the Parrot Box as yet because I fear I’ll probably damage their comb/original hive by lifting the Parrot Box lid, which is the only way to get into it. With winter coming on soon I think its probably best to just leave them alone until maybe Aug/Sept. Would this be considered a good plan for now? Any guidance on this approach would be much appreciated.
In the meantime over the past 2 weeks I’ve spent a stack of time reading a number of beekeeping books & watching a tonne of online videos to learn as much as I can about bees, how to care for them, and what my responsibilities are. In fact although I have zero experience, I actually feel like I now know quite a bit about bees as a consequence of my recent research. I’d really love to find a nearby mentor, so on that note, I’m wondering if there’s anyone in the vacinity of the Mornington Peninsula (Mount Martha area) who would be willing to mentor me for a while. If so, that would be absolutely fantastic & also very much appreciated of course.
Secondly, could anyone tell me why all of a sudden the guard bees are taking a particular dislike to me. Up until a few days ago I’ve been able to approach the hive without any problem, & I’ve been enjoying standing quietly about 1 meter away from the hive’s entrance watching the bees come and go. For the past few days though, almost every time I get within a couple of meters of the hive a number of guard bees attack me. I know that they’re very protective of their hive, but why do you think things have changed from what used to be an enjoyable & painless exercise? When the guard bees attack me, they’re not just ‘bumping’ me, they’re actually immediately latching on and stinging. It happens very quickly.
Any advice or info that anyone is able to offer me with regard my above plan (ie Parrot Box/New Hive situation), or why I’m all of a sudden experiencing issues with the guard bees, would be very much appreciated.
Oh, & by the way, I’ve also just committed to buying a ‘Flow Hive 2’ which won’t arrive until about July this year. My intention for the flow hive is to set it up as a 2nd hive in my backyard. I’m very excited about the prospects of being eventually able to care for both a Traditional Hive & also a Flow Hive.
Thanks in advance for any help you’re able to give me via this forum. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for a mentor in my area.
All best for now,
Paul - from Mount Martha, Victoria.