Once you have decided to place a beehive in your garden, the next step is to house it with bees.
A common practice is to buy a ‘nuc’. This would be a queen and around 1000 -10,000 bees, often sent through the post. I was very shocked to learn that almost 16,000 queen bees were imported into the UK in 2018 and 1,970 ‘nucs’. Most of these bees come from Italy and Greece, a significant number also come from Argentina.
I have been using swarms and splits to increase my colonies with great success. I have even had swarms move straight into an empty hive, when it has been placed in a favourable spot and ‘baited’. This means that my bees are already acclimatised to the region and resistant to local disease.
Bees can’t resist the smell of old wax comb and lemongrass oil. If you have either or both of these in a hive placed in a spot the bees will love, they will find it and move in. Naturally bees choose to live high up in trees, so most of my bait boxes I hang in trees, between 4 and 6 meters up. Roof tops can work really well as seen from cities around the world.
I also dowse to find the right location, as well as positioning the hive frames in a North/ South direction.
Swarming is a natural procedure for bees to procreate and expand and not to be feared. If you live in a town or city, however it is wise to have studied the bee life cycle and consider neighbours and safety when choosing to keep bees. Not everyone will be excited about an abundance of bees swarming in their neighbourhood!