Firstly a HUGE, HUGE welcome to Susan Bell as my 100th follower on the sidebar! Who would have thought it possible. I feel that I should mark this "event" somehow. I have a spare copy of "A Girl called Jack" to give to anyone who would like it. Let me know in comments, or email me and if there is more than one of you interested I shall use the proverbial hat to pull names out of. You don't have to comment about how wonderful I am (I know!) just leave your name and it doesn't matter if you don't live in this country I can stand the postage, I'll just take a few bottles back (old English joke)
Non the less welcome are some new followers on Blog lovin. Unfortunately, BL is playing up and won't tell me who is following, just how many are. So whoever you are... Welcome... and I will recognise you properly when BL gives of his secrets.
This bee business is getting ridiculous.
I went to look at the bees under the eaves (last post) and they were indeed honey bees (they weren't sure). they were also in an extremely difficult situation. It appeared that some of the bees were in the wall cavity of the farmhouse and a goodly size clump was hanging outside. they were fractious, probably because their situation wasn't ideal and also because it was hot and humid. It was quite difficult to approach them even to take a pic from underneath and they were a couple of floors up. The poor farmer's wife had gone outside and been followed back into the house by several insistent bees and was refusing to come out again.
Clearly these bees were a nuisance and couldn't be left where they were. This causes difficulties.. .how to move them ? if indeed that were possible. I wondered if the local beekeepers association would tackle the swarm which was very high in the eaves and couldn't just be swept off, as an unknown quantity (including the Queen?) were inside the wall and couldn't be reached. I told the elderly farmer that I would try to find some contacts for him as we would not be able to collect it. My first port of call was the council's environmental health pest control dept. Apparently they will dispose of anything but bees ! I told her that they were a nuisance and could not be left and may even (probably) have to be destroyed.She told me that bees were protected and that it was illegal to kill them . I informed her that sometimes this was the only thing that could be done and you COULD destroy bees who were putting people at risk. She put the phone down on me!
With the help of good old Google I found the local bee swarm collectors, who will undoubtedly NOT be able to collect the bees for all sorts of reasons, in particular, not being insured for high ladder work for starters and the position of the swarm within the wall cavity. I suspect that this poor couple will have to find a private pest control expert to help. All this information I gave to their daughter who will be helping them with the calls. I do hope they sort them.
This evening, as though I wasn't "beed-out" enough D. and I decided to look through the vast swarm that we had collected on monday.. It was indeed HUGE, filling all the frames. We put a super on it to give them more room . We were particularly pleased to find and mark the queen.
We decided that as we were togged up we would look through a few of the other hives. As we were approaching the hive at the far end of the garden our neighbours from across the road, who were having a birthday party for a one year old, shouted over " You are collecting the swarm then?" "Just looking through the bees" we replied naively "Well, it's been there all day, we thought you were going to collect it and we were all hoping to watch" they shouted across the road.... " !?!? " we replied , or something along those lines. There in the apple tree was a cluster of bees. "For goodness sake.. give us a break" I thought. What we said was "Thanks for telling us about the swarm. Of course you are welcome to watch" For the next half an hour the birthday party lent on our front wall while we boxed the bees, cheering as they were knocked into the box.... Box No. 13 !!!
We finished selling last years'honey yesterday, so took the signs in. People were still knocking today as they had seen the signs which have only been up 10 days. We told them that we would be spinning in a couple of weeks and to watch for the new signs. Is it possible that the bees will actually make some profit for us this year? if so, it will be the first time in 40 years of beekeeping!
I PROMISE not to post about bees again now for some time. You must all be sick of hearing about them, but they really have been taking up so much of our time that they do have to be mentioned.
Talking of signs and selling from the door, we put up signs for our excess produce and leave whatever we have on a slab at the front of the house with an honesty pot for money. I have lost count of the people who come to the door, insisting on giving us the money saying " I didn't like to leave the money there for someone to steal it" I always ask them if they would steal it? to which they usually reply with horror "Of course I wouldn't" "The majority of people are just like you " I tell them and in thirty three years we have never been short in the pot, with some people leaving more money than they need to"
Does anyone else have a different or similar experience to this?
Enough for now.