Bad beekeeping chez M+S

PXL_20220505_081519319 Another day, another swarm o' bees. Although perhaps I should not be too casual: they are welcome, and my last was in 2020 (the 2021 one got away, if I recall correctly; ah yes, see pix: they evaporated).

Whose bees these are I don't know; they were found by a friend just outside her garden about a kilometer from my apiary which, according to the apiary keeper, had been showing signs of "activity" a few days earlier. So they could be mine.

That's the close up view (zoom in! You can see detail!); a more distant view is here, showing my trail of destruction into the hedge, the stepladder, and the bees about 9 feet off the ground, though it doesn't show the ditch. The next step is to dump them into a box (forgive the lack of pix of that stage, as holding a box with one hand whilst shaking a branch covered in bees with the other already uses all my hands), shown here. And then they can be driven back to the apiary - still with my veil on - and dumped into a spare hive.

Which hive is N's. The moss is only superficial. It is a polystyrene hive: they are said to have many advantages: they don't warp or rot, and the bees don't stick them together. The sheet was for wrapping up the box-o-bees while in transit.


This is the post-dumped-in phase, in which they are slowly crawling into the hive, following their queen. So it has all worked out well. Pic with more context here.

Vidz of some of this are at Youtube.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, and as quite a coincidence, we had the same thing happen to us this afternoon.
We have a few hives that a local beekeeper keeps in our chestnut woodland, and a giant bee-ball appeared in a tree next to our house. A quick call to the the bee man and he confirmed that they were his bees, he shook them into a box, and back they went to their hive.

I don't know whether he was just showing off but he wasn't wearing any gloves. Seemed a little foolish to me, but I'm someone who generally aims to keep bee stings to a minimum.

To wander off the track a bit, I had no idea how much honey is produced by a hive so when we initially made the arrangement I was staggered that he said he'd give us a kilo of honey every year for each hive he put in our woods. Indeed, a few months after the hives arrived, ten kilos of honey was left by our front door. It still seems like a lot, but is also one of those things that is very handy when it's 'can't-think-of-a-gift' time.

Anteros said...

Annoyingly anonymized. Comment above from Anteros

William M. Connolley said...

Spring is the time for swarms, so not such a huge coincidence. I reckon on perhaps 50 lbs on an average year from an average hive; so a kilo would be less than a tithe.

I always wear gloves; but the Bee Inspector who came round, I noticed, did not; he preferred the "feel" from being gloveless; although for sanitation's sake he worse thin surgical-type gloves. I met a beekeeper from Germany who said it was too hot in the summer for veils.