There seem to be a lot of bees in the title for some reason. I was about to go out to do some guerilla gardening this afternoon when the phone rang. The young lady on the other end told me that she had found a swarm in the garden and didn’t know what to do. She thought it might have come from one of her Uncle’s hives but he wasn’t around. Could I help? Of course I could! Where was she? They don’t have an address as such but their house is the only one near the Church in Batcombe and she gave me the post code, which covers a wide area, for my sat nav.
I headed up Narn, then along Long Ash Lane, then turned right along the Batcombe ridge, the rain water from the south side of which flows into the English Channel and from the north side the Bristol Channel. I found the lane heading north down a steep zig zag and suddenly the Church was before me. I think I have been there before and found a Slade gravestone in the cemetery.
I stopped the car and suddenly a lass appeared a few yards ahead and directed me into the drive. There was pack of assorted hounds which she ordered into the kitchen and then led me through the house to the garden which has a mass of bee friendly flowers, especially a long bed of lavender in full bloom along the haha. I couldn’t spot the swarm at first as I was looking at the wrong tree but then Eleanor pointed it out: a long slim swarm dangling on a twig about chest high, only a few yards from the apiary. It would have to be the easiest ever to collect.
We went back to the car and I got kitted up and found a tunic for Eleanor. She was wearing a short dress reaching only to about a span above the knees and so I mentioned that she ought to cover her legs but she ignored my advice.
We went back to the swarm and I showed Eleanor how to put her hand into it, all warm and tickly. Bravely she did so while took a photo with her phone. She may post it here if she can manage the technology.
I went to the apiary and found an empty hive with frames that appeared to have been prepared just for the event. I used secateurs to cut the twig while supporting the section below, then gently walked with it the few yards to the hive. I removed a few frames in the centre to make space, lowered the swarm in, then gave the twig a violent jerk to shake the bees off and replaced the frames.
We stood and watched for a while and I showed Eleanor the Nasenov glands of the bees fanning at the entrance indicating that Mum was at home and all was well. I’m fairly certain the Eleanor will soon be buying a bee suit and taking over or extending the apiary!
Over the years I have known several lasses, of whom Eleanor is the youngest, brave/stupid enough to put a hand into a swarm. All have been blonde!