FOLLOWING THE WILD BEES

That’s the title of another book I’ve just been sent for review by Princeton University Press.  It’s by Tom Seeley and it is about the craft and science of bee hunting.  I remember reading a book about this decades ago, probably Donovan’s Hunting Wild Bees and intended to put it into practice but never got around to it.

I must set aside some time to read Tom’s book and report on it.  I know it will be good as his always are!

Today is busy. I got called to Greenwood Grange to a swarm by their gate.  It was a tiny cast, maybe as big as a pair of clenched fists (I don’t know what that is in metric!).  With an audience, I hopped on the adjacent wall and shook the cluster into a skep, which I then wrapped in an Ikea bag and set it on the wall with a gap for an entrance  Soon bees were fanning at the entrance, exposing their Nasenov glands, suggesting that there was a queen within.

While waiting for the stragglers to join the crowd, I wandered over to the apiary site near the pond where I have three baited hives set up.  The first one was busy with bees!  I zipped up my veil and gently opened them.  Some bees had pollen on their legs, but there was no brood.  I looked at each frame and saw the queen on one. She wasn’t very big and may be a virgin.  I wonder whether the little cast was the stragglers from where the larger swarm had been clustered earlier, but then, they wouldn’t have been fanning as described.

I fetched the skep  and shook the bees into the empty hive next door.  If they are stragglers from the main bunch it won’t be difficult for them to re-unite.

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About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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One Response to FOLLOWING THE WILD BEES

  1. Margaret Anne Adams says:

    Thank you for sharing all this. I’m now into chapter 3 of the Kindle edition of Following the Wild bees. I’m sure you will enjoy it too.

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