Devon SSSI nature reserve and eco lodges - Maggie's Blog
The bees have swarmed...
Lovely weather tempts you to sit in the garden drinking coffee. And there we were on Friday, joking with Tony as he biked back from watering the horses - laughing about all the work that wasn't being done. We were getting on to this and that, when he said 'talking of bees, that looks like a swarm'.
Oh dear. That wasn't in the script, not for this year anyway. Since both hives are pretty new, Ian had hoped they wouldn't swarm this summer. But that loose vortex of bees, visible 50m away, looked pretty convincing.
Much running to get the white suit on, and ringing of Rashid, bee mentor from Hollocombe...
Rashid said try 'tanging' a saucepan lid with a spoon.
An old wives' tale, but the theory is that the bees hear it, think it might be going to rain, and start to settle.
Who knows whether it worked. The bees moved off along the neighbouring hedgerow but thankfully settled on an old bit of laid hedge. They took a while to clump, and it wasn't a tidy swarm.
Still, it gave Ian time to knock up a box for a new hive for them, out of offcuts from some cladding we had to replace recently. You can see the urgency in the picture!
When it came to collecting the bees I was under strict instructions not to take photos of Ian looking like a complete amateur.
But he needn't have worried - I was so far back the shots weren't much good. He got about half the swarm, but maybe not the queen. The rest he left to settle again, but they up'd and off'd when he took his eye off them,and that was the end of that. The ones we got spent the night in the barn in a cardboard box.
Rashid came round the next day and helped Ian 'hive' the swarm - you give them a white ramp to march up apparently, straight into their new hive. Sadly I missed that bit, and of course so did the camera. Ah well, next time.
And when they looked through the old hive, Ian and Rashid found a queen cell, so that frame has come out and been given to the newly-hived swarm to look after. If they don't have a queen now, they should get a new one soon.
Happily, both the original hives looks healthy - little sign of verroa and lots of activity. So fingers crossed for more than just two jars of honey this year!