This afternoon I removed one of my hives from Portland in which the bees had died and transferred it to a new site at Preston, just outside Weymouth. The field is left fallow as a David Bellamy-approved wild flower meadow which earns the owner, a holiday camp company, green brownie points (or should that be brown greenie points?).
This all came about because I had a swarm call last year from the camp (hundreds of not-very-mobile homes with swimming pool, restaurant, games rooms etc on site). I got there and was shown the swarm by the Park Services Manager, Mark. It wasn’t very big but handily placed on a low bush. I was able to handle a few of the bees to demonstrate to Mark how peaceable a swarm is.
He was interested and wanted to see the swarm taken so we went the 20 yards or so to my car where I had my kit and a spare suit. We kitted up, returned to the place and there were the bees – gone!
The company is keen on its green image and Mark has obtained permission for an apiary on site, possibly with the BKA using it as an Association apiary, maybe even having meetings and talks in the games room or reception (with attendant publicity!). I put it to the BKA who are looking cautiously at the idea. The site is a bit close to holidaymakers and there might be conflict or vandalism. They agreed that I should go in first on a ‘suck it and see’ basis, maybe taking over from me in due course if it seems sensible.
I have only a single National hive there so far and really I ought to give it a good clean up before the season starts, maybe with acetic acid treatment to sterilise it. I want to leave it smelling as a beehive should in order to attract a swarm, maybe a second generation from the one that disappeared last year. If a swarm doesn’t arrive I shall stock it with a split from elsewhere.