A first look at some new bees
Last Sunday evening, Generous Beekeeper Lori gave me a second swarm from her bees.
Working with Lori is like not working at all. I mosey over to her beautiful home. Since she's already caught the bees, all I end up doing is spending a bit of time in her lovely garden (or the garden of her neighbors). I wrap the carrying box in a shower curtain liner and pop the bees in the trunk of my car.
And on the drive home, I notice ever single solitary pothole in our roads.
Lori's bees are as hardworking and pleasant as their original keeper. They've already started laying eggs, which means that I've got a healthy queen.
My approach, especially when the colonies are just getting established, is to minimize my intrusions into their hives. In this case, I checked for eggs, and added a new box. This will give the bees plenty of room to expand into. I don't want to open this hive for another month, but I also don't want them to get crowded.
For my own records: the bees are hardly using the bottom box. There are eggs and nectar in the upper blue box, which I slipped another box underneath.
This new pink box had alternating frames of built-out wax, and empty frames. Hopefully, this will impose enough structure that the bees won't build crazy comb all over the place. I want to avoid this, and keep the wax comb as straight as possible. Lumpy irregular comb gets damaged during hive inspections. When comb gets damaged, bees and brood get mauled, and nobody wants that.
The only reason I kept the blue box in the top position is because our hive lid doesn't fit the pink box. Different apiary supply companies build different sized gear, which we didn't know when we stayed keeping bees. It turns out that not all of our gear is interchangeable, which is a bit frustrating.
Overall, I could not have been happier with what I saw in the hive. The bees were calm and productive. They're building comb, collecting nectar and pollen, and the queen is laying eggs. All is as it should be.