There’s something magical about being in the apiary late on a calm summer evening. I’ve been busy moving nucs from mating sites to local apiaries prior to moving them North. It’s been so warm that the bees have been flying late into the evening – until at least 9.30pm – so it’s not possible to close up the colonies until the majority of the stragglers return from the fields. By then the sun is down and a full moon is rising over the woods. The honey production colonies are busy humming away with the bees frantically fanning to evaporate excess water off the nectar prior to capping the cells. Near the hives the air is thick with the smell of blackberry or clover, and the syrupy smell of honeysuckle wafts from the hedgerows. Without a breath of wind it’s possible to hear every rustle in the undergrowth … if you wait long enough to stop breathing heavily from the physical exertion of hefting boxes around.
These moves are short distances so require no preparation of the colony other than a foam plug in the entrance and a secure strap. Long distance moves, where there’s a possibility of the colonies overheating, requires more preparation – with travel screens, good ventilation and, if the weather is particularly hot, making the trip overnight.