You may recall the Valley Village swarm that I caught a couple of weeks ago (via a call to the Bee Hotline). Yesterday it finally got sunny and warm enough to take them out of the nuc box and put them in a proper hive, so I set to work.
When I got the box open, the first thing I noticed was water, and lots of it. Apparently a lot of our recent rain got in there, and water doesn't have many places to go once it's inside a wax-lined box.
(Kirk later told me that this is why he cuts a hole in the top of a nuc box, then covers the hole with screen. He's a smart one.)
That water didn't seem to have slowed the bees down. They had nearly filled five frames with comb and brood. Very impressive.
I didn't want to tear the comb apart, so I just moved the whole bunch of frames as one into a hive box.
As I walked away from the hive, I happened to glance up at the nuc box that I had tied up in a Eucalyptus tree some time ago, hoping to attract a swarm. Kirk had stopped by a couple of days earlier and seen some scout bees checking it out; he predicted that a swarm would be there soon. He was right.
A lot of the bees seemed to be clustering outside the box, so I climbed up on the ladder, sprayed them with sugar water, and brushed them inside the box. About half the bees were beyond my reach, but I wasn't willing to climb around to get them—falling out of a tree while pursuing bees is not my idea of a good idea.
Then this morning I noticed yet another swarm—this one clinging to the back of the hive box where I'd put the Valley Village bees. Consulting via phone, Kirk speculated that some scout bees had found this hive box while it was empty and then led their swarm there, only to find it occupied once they arrived. That's one messed-up moving day.
At first I thought the Valley Village bees themselves might have swarmed, but they were still hard at work inside their new hive box. So back I went with another nuc box, sprayed this easy-to-reach swarm with sugar water, and brushed them into the box.
It looks like I may have gotten the queen in there, as the rest of the bees seem pretty eager to get inside.
I don't know how many hives our yard can accommodate, but it looks like we're going to find out.