Tuesday, 29 May 2012

We have our own bees at home - finally!

Our own bees having been living in their hive in a farmers field a few miles from here. They are being looked after by Nikki under guidance from the Gloucestershire Beekeeping Association. They will come 'home' in September 2012. We may even get some honey from them this year!

Our second hive has been unoccupied in our garden since the Spring of 2011. In Spring bee colonies that get too lage sometimes swarm and move into an unoccupied hive, attracted by a small piece of comb which contains all the lovely smells bees like. We are on the waiting list of the 'Gloucestershire Swarm Collector' -  who will let us know when a swarm is spotted in the area, reported by the public, and needs to be collected.

So, earlier this week Nikki collected her first swarm (see pictures). It wasn't too hard to get them into a box, but it wasn't so easy to get them from the box into the hive. The Queen bee somehow ended up outside the hive and promptly decided that 5 Meter up a tree above the hive was a much nicer spot. There they stayed put all night, only to disappear the next day, alarming our neighbours in the process.

However, within 2 days another swarm or cast was spotted nearby and this time we managed to collect them and transfer them to the hive. This swarm is very small, consisting of a virgin Queen bee and maybe 200-250 bees, but it is a start. Now they are busy feeding on suger syrup and hopefully settle down, start foraging, and expanding the colony after the Queen bee has been mated 'on the wing'.

Moving the swarm from the colection box to the hive

Hmm. They don't like it!

Why not settle in a tree. Much more comfortable!

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