LEYED TO REST

I may have mentioned once or twice the ley line passing through the village that, as far as I know, starts at Evershot Church, where the bees fly from a gargoyle’s mouth, to Upwey Church, where they inhabit the tower.  There are many other wild colonies along the line, not all in Churches.

I was contacted some months ago about bees having colonised a cavity in an ancient cottage on the ley line at Chalmington.  As my friend, Sarah, lives next door I asked if I could set up a bait hive in her garden and she agreed.

All went quiet until a few days ago when Sarah, when mowing her lawn, was stung on her arm. Although she has been stung before without problems, this time she had a bad reaction with her arm swelling like a balloon and had to go to hospital and was given massive doses of penicillin. Of course that made her terrified of going into her garden so, understandably, she asked me to move the bees.

I hadn’t realised that the hive was occupied although Sarah had told me that bees were showing an interest.  As I can’t drive with my leg in plaster and can’t carry much while on crutches I thought it would have to wait for quite a while. Then I had an inspiration!

I sent a message via Facebook to a mutual friend, Georgina, who lives and keeps bees in Cattistock, close by.  She agreed to help me shift them to my apiary at Greenwood Grange, which is the most accessable of my sites.  We planned for her to pick me up this evening to do a recce and close up the hive, moving them in the morning.

She arrived, as arranged, at sunset, together with her son Eric to do the heavy work.  When we got to Sarah’s, bee traffic had almost ceased and only the occasional worker was to be seen. Georgina and Eric suited up. I was within reach of the hive with shorts and no veil. Georgina applied duct tape and straps and, as we had Eric with us, we had a change of plan and decided to move the bees straight away.

Eric did the heavy work, carrying the hive to place in the boot of the car. Georgina drove us to Greenwood Grange, on the far side of Dorchester. It was ‘interesting’ that, as we were chatting as she drove, she would wave both hands at once to illustrate a point!

It was nearly dark at 10 o’clock when we got there. Again, Eric did the heavy work while Georgina carried the stand and I hobbled along behind. We set up the hive in the gloaming and then Georgina noticed that it was abutting an ant hill so we moved it a few yards. She then gently removed the straps and the duct tape and one bee that had been stuck to it.

On the whole, it went tremendously better than it might have done. I hope the weather stays good enough for them to build up ok.  The site is bordered by  calcareous agricultural land on one side with forest/woodland on the other  with acid heathland with heather within easy reach.

I’m continually impressed with the kindness of people during my incapacity and shall do my best to follow suit when others are in difficulty!

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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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