Busy in the garden tooling around making a new chicken house for our broody hens and Joan calls out – “Adrian, something’s going on with your bees… is that a swarm?”
They have all been exceptionally active since the weather has turned and in the last few weeks we’ve had them gathering flowers from chestnut and maples. In the last 5 days all of the Robinia has been alive with bees – an exceptional year for flowering trees.
Swarm? No chance. I think I’ve done everything right. Given them new frames of foundation, new supers for excess honey. Last inspection there were no queen cells so things were rocking along. A very strong colony in one hive and I’d decided to split that and grow on another colony. The work was scheduled for Sunday, two days away.
So I suit up and go and have a look. Feck-a-doodle-doo. It looks like they are making moves to up sticks. This, for a bee-keeper could be bad news. Your bees have raised a new queen (or queens) for reasons best known to themselves the queens take flight, hop on the good foot and do the bad thing whilst in the air and then go and search out new digs.
So. Caught them having bee-sex and then watched them land in their *thousands* on a nearby shrub and that’s it. RESULT!
I had a ‘ruchette’ ready to rock… new frames of foundation, old empty cells ready for a queen to lay eggs and a frame full of spring honey. So, all that was left to do was jump in and catch them.
Easy. Peasy. Lemon. Squeezy.
Checked the old hive. All fine, tons of frames of brood – they’ll be fine. Checked my second hive. CHOCK FULL OF HONEY. Dark, heady, aromatic – I suspect the very best spring honey from our fruit trees, chestnut, maple and acacia.
Off to the bee store next week for new hives. New supers and it’s time to look for an extractor.