Just back from feeding the 3 new hives on our new apiary in my friend's back garden. These hives are numbered 5, 6 and 7. When we arrived, we found plenty of bees coming and going from each hive - I took this to be a good sign.
Hive 5 was established 10 days ago from one of the swarms we recovered after getting back from holiday. We did not open up the hive to inspect the frames but we took off the roof and found that the bees had eaten all the fondant we gave them when putting them in the hive. That is a good sign. We fed them again with a bucket of sugar syrup.
Hive 6 was established 5 days ago and again, we didn't open the hive to inspect the frames but we did take off the roof to check how they were getting though the bucket of sugar syrup we had given them. They had drained it dry, another good sign, so we gave them a fresh one.
Hive 7 was established 5 days ago as well but it was created from a small swarm and we were not sure whether or not it would survive. We decided to see if it establishes itself and if it doesn't, that it would be merged with a stronger hive. The hive itselt had been made from bits. We had been caught off guard by the sheer number of swarms and never anticipated having to create more than 2 additional hives. Hive 7 did not have a brood box to start with. Instead, we put it into a super. There was no proper roof, just a board with plastic bags wrapped around it. On Friday the new equipment arrived which we ordered after the swarms earlier in the week. It included some brood boxes and rooves so we were able to take these down to the new apiary and transfer hive 7 into them.
Hive 7 was not fed last week as it was not possible to do so with the equipment we had but today, we were able to give them a bucket of sugar syrup. We did not do a close inspection of the frames but when transferring them over into the new hive, we could see that the comb was being drawn out by the bees. Again, I took that as a good sign. It seems this colony is establishing itself though there is some way to go before we can be sure it is viable.
It is still strange to think that at the start of this month, we had only 2 hives. We will be checking soon on the two established hives to see if there is any honey but the weather has turned against us, meaning we cannot do the inspection today. Watch this space.