I had been away for five days and when I got back, Shaun surprised me with our new bees. You need to move them at night for a host of reasons and so he and our Bee guru friend Hans loaded them up under the cover of darkness and brought the hive over on the back of the ute. Then clad in their bee keeping hats, looking like two ninja spacemen, they placed the hive on the blocks Shaun had prepared a few days before. The site choice is key - morning sun is only preferable, water nearby for them to drink, a clear flight path and a nice level spot. So here they were the next morning
They live at the bottom of the last swale, over looking the dam, under a deciduous tree so they'll get more winter sun and they can either fly off to the veggie patch or back around to the swales in search of flowers. When I was in the patch yesterday, they were all over the broad bean flowers, so I think they are making themselves at home. In the past, we've had a definite lack of bees and you would bump across one or two if you were in the patch. When the Wooly Pod Vetch is in flower, you meet them in the swales, but we've had a real lack of them. So much so that I was having to hand pollinate the pumpkins and we only got 12 in all. So now we are looking forward to a much better yield.
You can see from the pic that this is a different type of bee hive (sorry about the size but I didn't want to disturb them and the longer lens is having a tune up). Its a top bar hive that is used in natural bee keeping. There aren't any frames inside and the bees make their own honeycomb structure off the top wooden bars that sit inside the lid. Once they are complete and you pull them out, they look just like they were built off a frame, but the upside is there is less intervention and no chemicals or smoking. You do get a smaller yield but that's OK with us because honey is the bonus on top of their real role as pollinators. So we're very excited and hopefully they'll be happy in their new home.