Swarm season is underway!
OK where do I begin, at the start I would reckon is a good place. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and sorry for not posting just had loads to do. As the temperature has soared and the flowers have started to really do their thing so have the now 16 hives I have got ( BY THE WAY THAT IS ALL I CAN COPE WITH). I went to inspect one of my out apiaries this weekend and found to my horror and slight annoyance that I had two of the hives swarm since my visit last week (they really don’t read the same books as me). In their place though where two lovely virgin queens and very healthy hives, both had plenty of stores and plenty of bees to keep them going until the queens mate and start to produce their own off spring.
The hives where all full to bursting with a melaise of workers and flyers, I tell you what there is nothing quite like the sight and noise of a busy hive everyone has their job to do and they work in real harmony.
Whilst out inspecting I saw a clump of bees on the ground, I did wonder what they were up to then I remembered that I had clipped that queens wings, she had only swarmed whilst I was there but made it about 4 foot from the hive. There was a bubbling mass of bees on the floor and now I had to think fast how do I collect them? Then ping into my head I remembered I had a small poly nuc (small bee hive see previous posts) fitted with 5 newly made frames of beeswax foundation in the back of the Landrover, I had heard that the bees will walk into a new clean house rather easily, so I tried it. I placed the nuc over the clump, low and behold they started to walk straight in, this was now my second bee nuc. I tell you what, there is masses to learn for this hobby and trial and error is one way of learning. Success! bees collected now not lost to Mother Nature also I could help a friend start a breeding colony of the much sort after Buckfast bee as this is the queen I had caught.
Onwards to the second out apiary of the afternoon where I met Chris my bee mentor. He was most grateful of the nuc and said it was a nice surprise and not needed but he wouldn’t turn it down ( typical of bee keepers), my way of saying thank you for his continued support and help whilst I get to grips with my first year of bee keeping.
I pinch my self sometimes to see if this is real. This time last year I had one hive in the back garden now I have sixteen dotted around parts of Wiltshire on bee friendly pastures and farmers wanting me to put more on their land. I did say earlier sixteen is ample at the moment with a full time job and family I just can’t devote any more time to the bees. There is also a cost implication too, each new hive that I buy is about £150.00 plus all the extras and so far I have had three frames of honey off all sixteen hives, but it’s not about the money it’s about getting outdoors all day with my son (aged 6 3/4) and daughter (4) and partner (won’t mention her age) who all enjoy the same thing as me BEING OUTDOORS IN THE SUN.