bees by special request

In March the kids gave Laurie a birthday present of bee-keeping lessons with a local group.He spent his Tuesday evenings out near Leicester with his new bee-keeping friends – all part anorak – nothing wrong with being part anorak – my friends have to have a streak of it to qualify. Laurie has a huge anorak inside (I don’t always listen, but I love it) – any new topic is consumed voraciously – books, web sites, magazines, endless conversations with fellow devotees. Bee-keeping has been no different – and the most surprising people know about bee-keeping.

On July 19th Middle Sis’s neighbour called to tell her she had a ‘problem’ – a swarm of bees had settled in her garden and hung themselves under a tree. No problem at all! Laurie had just completed his course and headed up there with his fetching beige bee-keeper’s suit in hand. He already had an old hive and some frames (which hang inside for bees to fill with honey) which he had been getting ready for a nucleus of bees (you can buy 150 bees to start off a colony). Middle Sis whizzed up to the allotments to pick up the hive for him whilst he readied himself.

He walked up to the tree with an Ikea storage box in hand and banged the branch where the bees were hanging. The queen settles on a branch and the bees cluster round her to protect her (bit like Chinese acrobats upside down). The swarm just dropped off into the box – which he then carried over to where he had set up the hive. He put the Ikea crate close to the hive and the bees simply crawled inside.

A day later – he sealed the hive, put it into the back of my car and drove – very carefully – to the allotment where they now have a new home.

Later that evening Laurie was sitting at the computer mumbling – ‘yes, yes. Did that, that’s ok’. When I asked him what he was doing he said he was ‘just checking’. I suppose it’s one thing to be shown what to do and quite another to actually do it.

I think we’ll have to wait a while until we get honey – but as he reckons we have about 40,000 bees in the hive it shouldn’t be too long.

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2 comments so far

  1. Ruth on

    So.. is there a particular time of year when i can rush up the M1 and collect my jar(s) of honey, like harvest time or do they produce all year round or is it like chickens and some times of year are a bit more productive than others.

    Have you heard about all the problems the USA is having with strange bee deaths at the moment? Maybee L should emigrate. Apparently they drive for hundreds of miles to take their hives to farmers for a while to pollinate the crops. Then they move on to more farms.

  2. anneholloway on

    think they produce all year round – but they do get a bit grumpy in August as that is their optimum honey producing time – and in Winter they hibernate.


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