New bees /new beekeeper

I have just received my first bees; 5 frames in a dadant hive. The guy who sold them told me to feed them and leave them alone for a week. I am dying to have a look. They seem to be quite busy and I am seeing honeybees in my garden instead of just bumbles. Any advice? I am not bothered about getting lots of honey. I do want good pollinators and happy healthy bees.
Do I keep feeding them?How do I know they are getting enough nectar and pollen?

Well done you in getting your first nucleus. I trust you got a 2017 Queen? Feeding this time of year will build up the colony but be careful not to feed for a long period as the bees can become lazy. Once a week inspection is adequate, you should see the pollen being brought in on the workers and the frames being filled. Hope all goes well.

Thank you William,

I expect it is 2017 queen…supposed to be. If the weather is good I will do first inspection on Friday. After that I will be able to see any changes. I hope there is no danger of swarming with a nucleus? Presumably they will be concentrating on growing the colony and storing food. How do I know when to stop feeding?

Hi Anne, good to hear from you. There is little chance of a swarm from the nucleus now as the workers will be busy storing up nectar. Your new queen should be busy laying her eggs and everyone will be happy.

Regarding feeding. Some feed colonies during June/July as there is the loss of pollen from plants/flowers at this time. You should stop if there is now evidence of pollen coming into the hive, you should also be aware of the different stages of growth of the flora in you area. Prolonged feeding affects the honey quality, the sugar content will taste and be obvious in your honey.

Regards William.

Hello William,
A lot has happened since I replied to you. I have had a problem with robber bees. I noticed wax particles under the hive then suddenly it was obvious that there was a problem with dead bees, fighting bees and such a confusion of bees around the hive. Fortunately It is over…reduced entrance, homemade robber screen etc. And the good news is that inside the hive there is little or no evidence now. I have found eggs and larvae but have yet to actually see the queen. The colony has increased in size expanded onto 7 frames with some of them really heavy. My bees seem to be very docile and easy to inspect now that they have settled in…thankfully.

Hi Anne, any chance you might have time to give an update?


Hello, thank you for asking. My bees survived the winter and were very strong so I decided to split. Unfortunately I was a bit too late and they had already decided to swarm. The queen must have been very small as she was able to get through the excluder and make off ( I had never managed to find her whenever I inspected). So I ended up with two hives both queenless or so I thought. I left 2 queen cells in each and waited. Nothing seemed to be happening so I put a frame with eggs into each hive and they did not make queen cells so I am now assuming there is a queen in each and I hope that when I look this weekend there will be eggs and larvae.


We’ve got a swarm of bees… swarming in/around an unused chimney of a neighbouring house…

Two local bee-keepers have tried to lure them into hives… without success… the bees seem happy to spend the rest of the year “squatting”. :relaxed: