Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Bee Business Part II and Honesty Pots

Hiya!
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.
Back soon
Gillx

36 comments:

  1. I would love a copy of... "A Girl called Jack" :D
    I have been following your blog for few months and I like your bees adventures...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd love to be entered into your giveaway and congrats on your 100th follower. The more I read about bees the more bother they seem to be. My nighttime audiobook is by Doreen Tovey and aside from her Siamese cats and donkey they have bees that she keeps needing to make 'bee candy' for! I'd never heard of that and with the whole swarming thing I thought it sounded like a lot more work than I'd thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This year has been extraordinary!. Our Godson, who has started keeping bees is having a similar year. Ity isn't usually this busy!

      Delete
  3. The last time I went to fill-up our wine containers, the vineyard had a swarm of bees in a huge medieval tower. Silly me, I parked right outside. With the windows all open, the bees soon discovered the inside of the car, and it was filled with the little monkeys. It took quite a while before we could drive home again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How long did it take you to clear the car I wonder? I bet a straggler flew across your nose as you drove back. That's what usually happens!

      Delete
  4. What a time you are having with the bees. As you've been doing this for 40 years it's old hat to you but I'd be useless. They'd smell my fear from a mile away!! Congrats on all your followers and I'd love to have my name in the hat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the whole bees are placid creatures.... now wasps on the other hand!!!

      Delete
  5. We havent had any swarms this year, we were hoping to pick up a couple as we lost a couple of hives last winter, I have managed to do a hive split to try and prevent swarming the first time I have done one, we did set out a bait hive there was a lot of interest around it the other day but no takers. Our son in law is a pest control officer and hasnt had a single call this year about swarms. last year he was swamped with them. Usually calls about honey bees he passes onto us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting that your SIL is a pest control officer. What is his take on dealing with bees (apart from passing on to you) ?
      I'm surprised he has not had any this year!

      Delete
  6. I would love a copy of the book. I've been waiting weeks and weeks for my ordered copy to arrive in the local library and still no luck....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be very popular then if you are having to wait. it is a good read and Jack is so inspirational.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It goes without saying really, I would love the book!
    Sue on "Our New Life in the Country" has it on her side bar and did a post about her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I missed Sue's post about Jack, and yet I follow her. How did that happen?!

      Delete
  9. Hi I'm one of your new follows on Bloglovin, and I'm really enjoying your blog. We too live in Derbyshire in Chesterfield. I would love a copy of a Girl Called Jack, so could you add me to the mix please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa

      Sorry to but into the discussion but I am also in Chesterfield! Do you have a blog I can follow as I particularly enjoy reading local blogs.

      Yours
      Becky

      Delete
    2. I echo Becky's question. Shall look for you on Blog lovin when the blasted thing lets me!

      Delete
    3. I don't blog at the moment. I have seriously been thinking about it, but unfortunately I'm not particularly IT savy so am a little bit daunted by it.

      Delete
  10. I have bought that book a couple of weeks ago - it's full of really useful stuff. When my stepsons set up home they'll be getting a copy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is a particularly good book for young people to start with as Jack is young and doesn't do faffy stuff with lots of equipment which appeals to many younger folk.

      Delete
  11. I too would love a copy of this book! Thank you for your interesting blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello and welcome Tiddles. I looked at your profile.. are you in France ?

      Delete
  12. With the decline of the bees going on in the world I'm def not sick of hearing about all the bees you've been dealing with. Please add me to your list for the book :) Jacquie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you aren't fed up with my bee-talk Cranberry. I know I go on sometimes!

      Delete
  13. As someone who dreams of having bees one day I never get tired of all the bee posts. But I am amazed at the number of swarms you've dealt with this year. Is swarming season nearly over or will it be like this for a while yet.

    I would also love a copy of A Girl Called Jack's book. I love her blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swarming season isn't completely over yet. We could still get more. I hope not though, as you can imagine. I would like them to make honey now, not more colonies!

      Delete
  14. I would love a copy of the book.

    Love the blog, even if I don't comment much.

    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love hearing about the bees :-) nice to know theres plenty somewhere!!

    Please dont include me for the book tho - i have a copy already, utterly fantastic little book :-)
    Kay xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good book isn't it ?
      Thanks for commenting
      Gill

      Delete
  16. Hi I've just found your blog (came over from Frugal Queen) Lovely to hear your tale about your honesty box, re-affirms my faith in human nature. I would love a chance to win your book, it is a kind thought to raffle it.
    Kathy x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to see you here Kathy.
      it's great book by a Frugal Expert!
      Gill

      Delete
  17. I'm pleased you've mentioned the honesty pot as I've often wondered if people are honest enough to pay the right amount or if other people steal it. You hear so many bad things in the news that you start to wonder about people, but it does make me pleased to hear that the majority of people are honest and trustworthy. I'd love my name to be added to the hat please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jo !
      I suppose if we had had theft from the pot we might have stopped using it, thoug h you can't let one bad person ruin things for all. I know of other smallholders who use honesty pots and have the same experience as us.

      Delete
  18. You are awash with swarms ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. We are about to take a couple to our friend's house 4 miles away tonight so that we can re-site them as they are all over the place in the most higgledy piggedly manner!

      Delete