It is May, when an old man’s thoughts turn to bees. There’s been a certain amount of swarm-catching but nothing too exciting. I thought I’d write down where I’m up to, for future reference and perhaps as some light relief from the silliness.
Lesson number one, of course, is that if your hive has a pitched roof you need to make sure that the wire mesh covering the ventilation holes hasn’t got eaten away by time. Or this may happen.
The bizarre roof-garden effect is mostly a bird’s nest, and either the moss has survived and thrived or the bird got carried away. If you can’t cope with tragedy, don’t look at this pic.
Continuing on in, we discover that I didn’t fill the top box completely up with frames, with the predictable result that the bees have filled up the spaces with comb, now largely capped. So next weekend I think I’ll be extracting. That was as far as I went with hive one; leave well enough alone I always say.
Hive two had been empty all winter, and a few weeks ago I noticed it had a small population. As in, I thought “oh, I wonder if there’s anything in here”, took the top off and realised “oops yes there is” and hastily put it back on again. So when some bloke phoned me up and offered me a swarm I accepted. It turned out to be this lot, fairly small. I used the old trick of “put a sheet of newspaper between the two sets of bees; by the time they’ve chewed through their scents will have mixed, and internecine war will not ensue”. And so it was.
Here they are, all dumped inside.
And here’s how many they are: about 4 bars, or a bit less, which is OK; they should have time to build up over the summer.