I have already described transferring the bees from the swarm in my garden into a travelling box. I got up especially early yesterday morning to take them to Frogmore farm, Toller Porcorum where I have a fenced off corner of a paddock overlooking a lovely, organically farmed, valley in West Dorset and where unlovely, naturally reared, badgers tore apart and devoured the contents of my hive there. I have since pegged down the bottom of the fence in the hope that it will be too difficult for them to repeat the exercise.
It was a struggle carrying the loaded box across the field. It must have weighed half a hundredweight. I set it down for a breather every 20 yards or so. I eased the box through the wired up entry and plonked it down next to the empty hive. There were one or two bees around the entrance. Robbers, I thought, cleaning up what little comb the badgers had left behind. I took off the supers and then got a surprise as the brood box was half full of bees! Another swarm had got there first!
Hastily I rebuilt the hive as I wasn’t suited or veiled. I placed the travelling boxed bees where their new home (revised) would be and went home to shuffle through the heap of kit to find: stand, floor, brood box, queen excluder, super, crown board and roof. I wasn’t able to use them at once as I had an appointment, first with my apprentice, Caps, to sort out the bees at Bockhampton, followed by a meeting in Dorchester to discuss grant for a local radio station.
It was late afternoon when I got back to Frogmore and, in a light drizzle, the first precipitation for weeks, I set up the hive and transferred the bees into it. They have masses of brood and food and should do well there. I also checked the interlopers and found some eggs but no larvae so they’ve been there only a few days.
By that time it was 6.30. That rang a bell. I had to be in a meeting somewhere at 6.30!!
It’s a busy life!