And so the swarming season begins for GlastonBees.

Today (Wednesday the 5th of June 2013) I was telephoned and informed of a swarm of Honey Bees at a residential garden in the urban jungle that is Cwmbran.  Whilst talking on the telephone I was given a telephone number of who to call and an address.  Yeyyy… Honey Bees…

So after calling the number I arranged to be there within the hour to re-home a colony of Honey Bees.  Firstly I needed to visit my workshop, collect my bee keeping suit and other paraphernalia   Lots of excitement was beginning, thinking of collecting some Bees, however there was also anxiety… because last time I collected Honey Bees it was not a performance I would like to repeat.

A little while later I arrived at the house, pressed the door bell and waited for a response.  A gentleman answered the door and we proceeded to go straight into the back garden to get a look at where exactly these ladies have settled, thankfully for me (and them) they were about head height in an easy to reach bush.

Now to my plan of attack, no that is a bad choice of words… My approach goes a little something like this, in order of priority: 

Put bee suit on;
Take some photos;
Use loppers to prune the bush;
Take some photos;
Position empty box underneath colony;
Use loppers to cut branch and lower colony into box;
Stand back, and wait to confirm that the Queen is inside the box;
Take some photos and video;
Pack up my belongings;
Try and get a cuppa tea;
Confirm that the Queen is inside and collect as many workers as possible;
Load the car;
Transport the Bees to their new home.

Amazingly and wonderfully my approach worked perfectly without a hitch (as if it would happen any other way), it did help that I noticed the neighbour set up a video camera and I didn’t fancy them taking £250 from You’ve been Framed.  Now that the ladies are in the car, it is time for us to take a trip to their new home.  It was a lovely 17 or something like that mile journey in the car listening to a bit of Muse on the way (I think the ladies like Muse, especially “New born” and “plug in baby”) with the air-con on the lowest setting.  

Well the ladies couldn’t of picked a finer day to be re-homed, glorious sunshine, warmth and the fact that I had some spare time.  So the bee suit went back on, I set the hive up and began to move the ladies into their new but temporary home.  After some 40 minutes or so they had settled down enough to walk near them without the suit on, with pride oozing from me from such a professional, without incident swarm collection.

The next chapter for these lovely ladies begins this weekend or early next week as they get moved into their brand new, sparkly home (it wont actually be sparkly).  I have been asked to build a Warré Hive for a customer, so looking forward to completing this type of hive and move the ladies into their final home for them.  

Lets wish for a fantastic summer of weather so these and all pollinators have the best possible chance of reproducing, pollinating and surviving until next year.
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