21 May 2017

Bees Bees and yet more Bees

This apparently healthy colony declined and fizzled out in April but a new one moved in in May unaided.

May is proving to be the time when swarms applenty can be sourced or discovered for free. Fortunately I have a bee-friendly acquaintance happy to accommodate more hives on his bio-neutral farm, which is well secluded in one of those steep sided, cul-de-sac Devon coombes.

Some late evening movements have become necessary to shift hives there from out of Courteney's garden. (Nervous neighbours, troubled by descending swarms, forced a sudden departure).
An extra top bar hive was also acquired from Teignmouth where it had become unwanted and is now believed to be quite likely to issue swarms. Cross combed and overcrowded, it is going to need close monitering. Warmer weather forecasted for the next few weeks makes this older style top bar hive even more likely to let go half its compliment of honey bees.
Another friend has discovered bees holed up in a plastic tub normally used for composting grass and hopefully I shall be able to add them to an existing colony that is not yet expanded from its initial swarm. This operation will involve placing a couple of queen excluders into the hive and using a separator of damp paper so each group may introduce themselves to one another in a more gradual manner. (They nibble through the paper).  However, those bees happened to be Bumble Bees and issued from several different vent holes in the green plastic compost bin that was 3/4 full of grass clippings. More defensive than honey bees, charging at those who dared approach to within about fifteen feet.
I think that five hives to look after will prove more than enough to cope with.

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