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Swarmtastic!

Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

Just wanted to share with you all some good news.  Contrary to my name, I am not an experienced bee-keeper - I've only been doing it for a year, with not a lot of success.  My cousin's boyfriend gave me two hives last year, which had been doing very well where he lives in Surrey, but which dwindled on arriving here.  We all hoped they would do better this year.  However, by February it seemed one of them had given up the ghost.  The other one limped on.  We wondered whether it was because I fed them the wrong kind of fondant icing over the winter.  Yesterday, I inspected the living one, but it is still limping on rather than thriving.  However I did notice that the empty hive, (which about six weeks ago was a kind of bee Pompeii with lots of dead bees sitting where they had died of goodness knows what) seemed to be active once more, with burly bees chucking out the dead ('They're not very sentimental, are they?' remarked Mr. Bee as we wandered past).  Well, it seems like those burly bees were 'scout bees' checking out a new home for a swarming queen, and this morning, on returning from a potter in the greenhouse, I noticed that the air was thick with fervent insects and the noise of buzzing had reached a crescendo.  The new queen had arrived, with all her entourage.  (A bit scary - I wasn't in costume obviously!)  After about half an hour, things calmed down and I went out and took this picture. 

image

 As you can see, they have formed a bit of a bee beard beneath the hive.  The dark bits on the gravel are the previous inhabitants (bring out your dead!)  Anyway, I am hoping that a more local strain might do better.  And according to Wikipedia, a swarm in May is worth a load of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon and a swarm in July isn't worth a fly.  So hopefully that means they have plenty of time to get things moving and produce lots of honey.  That would make a change.  Just hope the lazy queen next door takes it upon herself to keep up with the neighbours!!

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  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    That's fantastic news!! Here's hoping they do really well this year.

  • GnomeyGnomey Posts: 11

    It's awesome how they remove the dead bees. Good luck with your hives and I hope you get lots of juicy honey from them! image

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,362

    That is good news and brill that you've been able to house a swarmimage

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Thanks everyone!!  Apparently, on bee forums, people are saying that there are lots of swarms this year, and people are catching a lot of them, and there seems to be an increase in bee populations.  I hope that's right!!

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge WearsidePosts: 3,362

    I hope so too- I've seen 1 honeybee in my garden since I moved here in summer 2012...image

  • GnomeyGnomey Posts: 11

    Apparently they are dying out now and they are a very important part of the food chain. But bees are versatile little buggers and they can thrive in even the most inhospitable environments. I saw once a hive that produced pure bright green honey! It turns out the hive was right next to a food coloring factory and they were eating the green food coloring hence the green honey!

    Here's a pic.

    http://v026o.popscreen.com/NDkzMjk5MTExMjQ=_o_bees-visit-m-m-plant-create-colored-honey.jpg

     

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    this is fascinating, thanks for posting. I know we already have lots of them buzzing around the flowers in the garden.  yeah for gardeners and bee keepers getting the numbers on the rise.  Congrats Busy Bee !

  • Cleo13Cleo13 Posts: 106

    Good luck with this hive BB, what fantastic coloured honey, Gnomey!

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Yes Gnomey, the general trend has been towards them dying out, and there are lots of theories about why, but what I was trying to say was that there is a new mood of optimism among the bee-keeping community (according to my cousin's boyfriend - who got an excited phone call from me this afternoon) that this year, things are looking a bit better.  Whether that's because of the mild winter I am not sure, but it would be great if bees were making a bit of a comeback. 

  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    That honey looks like the stuff my dad used to clean his hands with after he'd been tinkering with the car!!  Swarfega was it?

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