My bees swarmed after all
During the day I can keep a beady eye on the Beehaus as I can just lean back in my office chair and look out the window. However, yesterday my eyes were off the bees as I was in the dining room when I heard a frantic knock at the front door. Both my neighbours (Ruth, who is directly next door, and Dave, who is next to her) were standing on my door step asking if I knew that the bees were flying all in the air. And sure enough, they were. My heart dropped because I knew that they were swarming in spite of the swarm control procedure I carried out a couple of weeks ago.
By the time I got outside, the bees were out of my garden and were flying above Pat's garden, who is next to Dave. So, three gardens along from mine.
Dave knocked on the door again and said that they'd settled in Pat's garden and as she's at work, did I want to get into her garden via the lane at the back of his. He was all smiles about it and said it was exciting to see them all in the air. He'd even filmed it on his phone. Below is the sight that greeted us.
So, the choice was to try get them down myself or call a beekeeper on the BBKA's swarm collector's list. I decided to call. Dave Smith said he'd be over at 6pm, which was 2 hours away. So I had to sit tight until then.
Ruth and Dave were asking loads of questions and weren't annoyed at all, just curious and worried for me that I'd lost my bees. Well, this is the curious thing because having checked the swarm came from the side of the Beehaus that has the queen cell and not the queen. So that means that the queen cell must have hatched and the new queen left with half the colony. Presumably that means I must have missed another queen cell as they wouldn't leave a queenless colony behind.
So, Dave came round at 6pm and we knocked on Pat's door. Pat was so understanding and quite excited too as she had her camera out to take shots of it being taken down.
It also wasn't the easiest swarm to get according to Dave as it wasn't a simple case of knocking them into the box. Some remained, which had to be moved by hand.
When they were all in, Dave turned the skep over and propped it up so the bees still outside of the skep, could find their way in.
Ruth and her daughter leaning out their window asking how we were getting on. In the foreground is Pat with my husband Jon. Pat was great - through all of this she was asking lots of questions including what flowers she should plant to attract the bees. She wasn't anxious or nervous in the least.
In the meantime I was a bit anxious as the bees weren't pleased. Dave had got a few stings already and we were covered in them. However, eventually they stopped flying about and most made it in the skep.
We placed a bin lid over the skep in case it rained. I'm on a business trip in Muncih for two days but David is coming back tonight to collect the skep and give the swarm to the next candidate on the swarm list - those are beekeepers looking for a colony. As sad as it makes me, I can't keep them as I have nowhere to put them :( I'm sure they'll go to a good home.
So, in the meantime I'm left questioning why they swarmed and what sort of colony they left behind. I'll have to hold tight until I can see inside the Beehaus on Friday. My bees have to make honey this year - I already owe a large jar to Ruth, Dave and Pat.