Another day, another swarm!

Well another day, and another swarm in the same garden!

I was called by a guy in a local village that had the swarm last week, but this time he had another swarm in his garden, but this time in a leylandii hedge, and again it was near the top at around 3m up. I tried to brush the bees into the skep, but they were not interested, so I placed the skep ontop of a basketball hoop, and hey presto, the bees went straight in once it started raining. The bees have now been re-housed in a hive which has been cleaned and spruced up – here’s hoping that they like their new home and decide to stay.

Difficult swarm to catch..

This afternoon I attended a garden in Shippon to try to capture a swarm of bees that had decided to nest in a yew tree. This was going to be difficult as the swarm had placed itself in between five upright branches and was about 3 meters up.

After two unsuccessful attempts to get the bees out of the tree before the heavy rain came, I put an old fashioned Skep hive above the swarm with a small amount of bee fondant inside. Slowly the bees started to move up into the skep and I managed to get all but about 20 bees that continued to fly around the tree. the skep was then wrapped in a cotton sheet, and taken away to a new home in an empty hive in an apple and plum orchard.

Spring Hive Inspection

This week while carryout a hive inspection on a colony in a friends garden, I was surprised to see that the colony was so big – I estimated that there were around 60 – 70,000 bees. What was more surprising was that I have already split the colony and moved half of the bees to a new site to try to stop the queen from swarming about a month ago and she had replaced most of the bees already. Now I have split the colony a second time, by artificially swarming the colony and this time into a second hive in the same garden.

Summer of 2020

Busby’s Bee’s Newsletter
 
I trust that you are all keeping safe & well.
 
Being valued customers, I thought that I would let you know how “the Girls” are doing, and how they are fairing during this strange summer.
 
The bee’s year started really well with the arrival of an early spring in the first week of March, and although we had some lovely weather, no one could have foreseen how the spring was going to develop after we went into lockdown. Normally, bees put up with us humans as an annoyance, but with very little interference during March, April & May, they thrived and started bring in lots of nectar and pollen, which was then converted into honey and food for the young growing bees in the brood. I’m noticed, while I was out working on my hives, without the constant hum of road noise, the various birds singing, and me trying to remember and identify their song – the unmistakable cuckoo, the little skylarks, the swifts and swallows darting about catching insects at lightning speed to name a few. Animals and plants appeared to be thriving without the nuisance of car and lorry pollution to stifle their growth, and from this I’m seeing bees working harder on the verges and in the hedgerows where they would normally keep away from. My bees too are hopefully thriving in this more gentle pace of life and for us, it has been a joy to be able to get some time out to go and inspect our hives. Watching our girls working hard and bringing in lots of stores. Its lovely just to pause and watch nature at its best. Maybe that’s something good that has come out of this pandemic.
 

 
The honey harvest in June was amazing, with two of my hives giving over 50lb in spring honey, and a few of the hives then refilled the combs and gave up more of their golden nectar in mid July – I did hear from another local beekeeper that managed to get over 400lb from one hive, but in doing this, the hive stood nearly 2m tall!!
 
With catching swarms and finding hives that start to go into Supersedure, (where the bees think its time to replace the queen and make a new colony) I have added 7 new hives to my apiaries, but I have now run out of hives to put bees into, so I have spent the last two week’s or so making new ones. This along with managing the hives and the bees has kept me quite busy, and my latest hive was installed yesterday in a lovely wild flower meadow in Abingdon – you can see how this was done at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJk-9GCBKnE
 
Due to the distancing restrictions, I have not been able to take live bees to the Farmers Markets, or for the special days at Millets Farm, hopefully we might still be able to get a couple of these organised towards early Autumn, so that you can come along and see some of the bees working in a glass hive.
For those of you that I see at the local Farmers Markets in Didcot, Abingdon or Witney, or that have ordered on-line, I look froward to seeing and hearing from you all again soon, but if you have any questions or just want a bit of advice, please contact me.

close up photo of insect
Look at the Eyes