Over the decades I’ve been involved with many swarms. The earliest hived itself in one of my hives in the first week of April last year and the latest, many years ago, was a tiny cast on the 4th September. Plotted on a graph, there is a very sharp peak during the 3rd/4th week of May.
This year I’ve had no swarm calls at all, not heard of any swarms locally but in the middle of this week one hived itself in a stack of boxes in my garden! It wasn’t baited but did have some combs. They chose to occupy a super which, being slightly skewed, had a small entrance in a corner whence they could gain admittance.
I thought I’d move them to my apiary, currently beeless, at Greenwood Grange, and went there to prepare a hive for them. It was already occupied! That must have been in the last few days as I had been there not long before.
I had taken a peep inside the swarm at home and saw that there were only a couple of frames so I got some more from elsewhere and filled the box, leaving them for a few days to settle it. Last night, after dark when they’d stopped flying, I lifted the super and placed it in an upturned roof. For elfinsafety I taped the boxes together, hoping the bees wouldn’t suffocate.
I got up earlier than usual this morning and moved them to Greenwood Grange without mishap.
A few days ago I received an email from the men from the Ministry saying that EFB had been found within a couple of miles of my apiary (currently beeless) at Chantmarle Manor. I went there to check and found a swarm had moved in! They can’t have been there long as there was no brood visible. While I was there I had a call from Kevin Pope, the Bee Inspector, asking if he could call in and check the hive on Monday, tomorrow.
I told him that I’d looked at the map and didn’t know of any beekeepers within a couple of miles of that site and he told me that less than half the beekeepers are members of the BKA!