It began with a visit to the Mill where the queen has been stubbornly refusing to emerge from the wall and enter the nuc I have placed abutting the flight hole. Last time I looked, about 10 days ago, there were signs of laying workers so I pinched a comb with young brood from Frogmore hoping that they would rear queen cells and make a new queen.
This morning, the first frame I took out still had scattered eggs, sometimes several to a cell, a sign of laying workers. The next one, however, had a small tight brood pattern of singly laid eggs and a few very young larvae. Thus the queen probably came out and started laying about 4 days ago! On the very next frame I saw the queen! In a day or so, I shall take them away and hive them.
Next, I went to the allotment where I hived a very stroppy swarm a few weeks ago, but haven’t seen as much activity as I would expect. The hive was almost empty! Nothing bee-wise was in the brood box but a few dozen bees were using an informal entrance into an upper stratum where there were stores, so they may just be robbers.
I hadn’t got home long when the phone rang and the lady at the other end said she had a swarm in her garden and I seemed to be the nearest beekeeper that she could find on-line. Would I like them? Naturally, I said ‘Yes’, and she told me where she lived: Minterne Parva, a hamlet 2 valleys east of here.
I drove across and found the house without too much difficulty and Rosie showed me the swarm in her garden. It was of medium size and dangling from a bush a little over head high. I did my usual party piece and gently inserted my hand into the swarm. Rosie took pictures. Then she, like me, completely unprotected, did the same and I grabbed her camera and took some of her.
I went to the car and got kitted up, finding a spacesuit for Rosie. We hived the swarm easily in a skep which we parked under the branch whence they came while we nattered over a glass of elderflower cordial. Rosie is interested in keeping bees herself, possibly in partnership with her friend, Nicky, who not only makes excellent use of elderflowers but also makes baskets and, soon, maybe, skeps!
Rosie has a site in mind for an apiary, next to a barn not too far away but she will need to get permission from the owner. We finished our drinks and Rosie helped me strap the skep into the bag to amke it fairly bee-proof. I took it home and hived it easily on the allotment in the hive I had visited earlier. Then I came home and started writeing this blog as my NEW APPRENTICE!, Rosie (who has to be cleverer than me at techy things, may post the photos in reply.
Now I’m off to Fordington to look at some bees in a roof. Probably bumbles.