Today I had arranged to do some scything tuition, but had told Andy that I may have to pause to house a swarm. He picked up the peening pretty quickly, which was good, but by late morning the sound of bees just kept getting louder. So I suited up, as did he, and we walked around the field looking for a swarm. There wasn’t one, but with thirteen colonies and a strong nectar flow, everywhere that you went sounded like a swarm.
I was pretty sure that at least one colony would go, so I did the rest of the session in my bee suit, and checked regularly. Again, no swarm. So we finished up, and I gave hime some lunch, and then, as he was interested in permaculture and Forest Gardening, I showed him around. On the way back down the hill, I saw some scout bees checking out the empty hive left strategically ready to use in the other field, and pointed them out, only to see more bees checking around the hive. No sooner had I said that there must be a swarm out, than I spotted a dark shadow on the far side of an apple tree, and had to say my goodbyes, and deal with the swarm. As I went back up the field, it was obvious that this was a big swarm, so I went and got my camera for a few pictures.
This is the swarm.
To give you a sense of scale the tree guard is made from 2 inch/5 cm weldmesh.
As I didn’t see the swarm emerging, I’m guessing at the origin, and it settled in between both of the hives that I’m waiting for a prime swarm to emerge from. I’m not sure if you can see in the close up, but there are more than one type of bee in this cluster. The ones with the distinct orange bands at the top of the abdomens are like the Buckfast bees, but there are plenty of darker bees, with white bands. I’m guessing that these are from the hive closest to where they settled, which was given to me by a friend (Thanks Alex). This is a colony with quite a wide variation in type, and I’ve been surprised that they’ve taken so long to swarm, as I have kept them restricted to a commercial brood body, with a single super.
All in all, I have one prime swarm to go, and probably a secondary from each. That should see my swarming season over until at least early July, at which time I’ll have to keep an eye on the colonies that I’ve formed from the prime swarms.
Again, another good day.
All of the best