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.


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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  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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