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Friday, 30 May 2014

Beekeeping: Bothered and Bewildered...

Planning Something?
I don't know about March going out like a lion this year, but the month of May certainly had an exciting end  here. DD's first interview was almost hijacked by a swarm of bees!

DD wants a job, but as she also needs to build up credits as an archaeologist, her options for finding full-time work are limited. The digs she's targetting happen during the long summer break, and the shorter one in October. Luckily, a part-time vacancy has recently come up at her old school. If she gets it, she'd be working term-time only. That would be perfect.

Yesterday, she bought her dress (very smart). Today was her interview (very nerve-racking). I don't think she slept well last night - OH and I certainly didn't! We were all ready hours in advance of giving her a lift to the school. Rather than sit in the house, making her feel nervous, I went out to check the greenhouse. With only twenty minutes to go before we were due to leave home, I strolled back. That was when I saw it - a huge swarm of bees on one of wooden posts supporting some raspberry canes. The swarm must have arrived after I checked my bees yesterday, and rested there all night.

The Swarm's New Home
I couldn't leave the swarm where it was while I took DD for her interview. It would have moved off as soon as the day warmed up, and I didn't want our village subjected to the sort of panic that's been appearing in the newspapers and on TV. Given time, I could have coaxed the bees off the post and into a box by using smoke and a soft brush, but we didn't have any time! We had to leave for DD's interview, ten miles away.  Luckily, OH was working from home. He's very tall and strong, so he was able to uproot the wooden post with all the bees still attached, and shake the swarm straight into a nucleus box (a half-sized hive, used for building up small colonies until they're big enough to go into a full-sized home). They dropped in perfectly, I closed it up and we dashed off to deliver DD to her interview.

It'll be a while before these new bees decide if they like it here, and whether they're happy to stay. I'll let you know what happens - about the bees, and whether DD gets the job!