I installed the platform and catch box on monday. I did a little caulking where I could. I really had to wait for the rain to let up to make sure every hole was plugged, and there were quite a few! The old farm house has really been neglected. It looks like they installed slate shingles over the older wooden exterior. I doubt that's common and likely pricey! Anyway, there were many large holes that I stuffed with insulation. The smaller holes were caulked. The rain finally stopped, and I was able to finish caulking yesterday. Up to this point, I left the box empty. After I finished caulking, I sat and watched for about an hour. I didn't see any scouts looking for another way in, so i went to my outyard to get the brood. It took a couple of hours, mainly because I wanted to do a quick inspection while I was there. I pulled 1 frame of brood out of one hive and a capped queen cell out of another. Let me tell you, those girls were less than pleased! The first 2 pictures were taken yesterday after I got back from the outyard. I was pleased that they were bearding and hadn't found a hole that I didn't see. That would have been soooo bad. I made a hole in the frame of brood and put the cell in place, then put the frame in the box. I also added 2 half frames of honey that I pulled from the wall, since it was easily accessible. I gave a bit to the homeowner and her renter, who seemed less than impressed when I first arrived. Now, he's asking questions. Anywho, I have another 5 frames in the box. I know there should be 2 more, but that's all I had available. So, 1 frame brood and queen cell, 2 half frames of honey and 4 empty frames. I finished "install" about 6:30pm yesterday. I helped them along a bit, by scooping the larger clumps into the box. It wasn't 5 minutes before a couple of the girls were at the front door fanning. I stuck around another half hour.
The second 2 pictures are from today. I went out at 1 this afternoon and found 5 of the frames packed with bees. There was still a "mass exodus" going on and lots of returning foragers hovering, I think I saw a couple scratch their heads, wondering how to get back in. There were some more girls at the front door fanning, and even some on top were fanning. I stood and watched for a good hour. Every now and then, i'd poke the end of a stick into the cone to help clear out the dead bees. I'm really pleased with the amount of bees I'm getting. 5 frames in less than a day! WOW! I hope to get a few more boxes. I also plan to set up a swarm trap for the old queen. I'll definitely be a happy camper if I can get her.
I hope you realize that when a hive is missing a frame or frames, that is where they will draw the first comb. They will not use frames when they have open space for free hanging comb. If the box is less than full, I see a mess in the making.
I went by to check on the cone, after work. I got there about 4:15 pm. It looked good. Bees were still exiting. I did pull one dead drone out of the way. There was a small group bearding on the edge of the platform. At first I thought small swarm, but the I decided it probably wasn't, as it's pretty hot and humid today. I looked in the box and it's got bees on all of the frames. I'll swap boxes either tomorrow or the next day, depending on the babysitter's schedule. Since I'm out of frames until my shipment arrives, I'll use my weakest hive as the next catch box.
I went out today. I was impressed with the amount of bees in that box. There was still a steady stream of bees, although not as much as the last two days. I put my waekest hive in place and hefted the first one out to my blazer. Man-o-man! That sucker was every bit of 8 pounds!
Coming in for a landing.
The first catch box in my backyard. You can see comb being built on the foundationless frame.
I went out, yesterday to check on the girls. They've taken to the new catch box and are filling it nicely. There is still a small stream of bees coming out. Nothing like the first 2 days where they were shoulder to shoulder, trying to get out. I'll remove this box in a couple of days and add another.
Interestingly, because I have foundationless frames for the girls to work, they haven't started a bit of comb on the cover. There are bees bearding on it, but no comb. I finally got my shipment of frames, so I'll put the last few together for this hive. These girls are doing well. I just might leave them in my backyard to help pollinate my garden.
Glad it's working for you. Just 5 days into the trap out? I think you may get another hive after boosting the 2 weak ones. Be ready to place an empty with eggs in another week or two. If you don't have the equip., you might want to order now. This looks like a 9 to 12 week job.
I checked on the trapout, today. Bees are still exiting. Nice! I checked the bait box and those girls have drawn out all the frames. I dug a little more and found a capped cell. DANG! They must have swarmed...but the box is pretty full. Hmm. I couldn't get to them sooner because of all the rain. Anyway, I continued checking all the frames and, to my surprise, found a nice fat queen on the next to the last frame!! I'm guessing she came from the house. Perhaps, I caught her just before the swarm? At any rate, I grabbed her and trotted back to my blazer to get a queen cage, which I knew would come in handy one day! I put her in, then went back and collected a few attendants. Took the queen home, then went back out with an empty nuc and pulled some frames and replaced with empties, to make room.
By the way, I've already had to split the first hive that I pulled off this house. I'm pleased with these bees!