Fulbrook swarm

On Wednesday 5th June, 2013, Melvin, Harry and Greg were called to a swarm near to the church in Fulbrook.  We assessed the situation, and the swarm had settled in 3 locations, very near to each other.  The largest group were attached to an old cable style length of rope, whilst the others were settled on nearby branches. 

There was a 12 foot drop between the access area and the location of the swarm.   Harry held onto Melvin as he swept the rope clinging bees into a box.   Then We placed a ladder into the gap area and dealt with the other bees that were on the branches and foliage.   We looked around to notice a large number of bees congregating, (Like the church pun?), on one of the boxes containing bees.  At first we thought that we hadn’t secured the box properly, or they had begun to gnaw their way out. 

The opposite was in fact true.  The bees that we had not yet boxed had, obviously, realised that the Queen was in the aforementioned box and had begun to make a hole to enable them to gain access.  We assisted them by making the hole larger and they had all soon walked in.  This meant that, very happily, we had been able to capture almost all the bees from the swarm.  The owner of the garden where the swarm had been located was highly delighted, as were we. 

We were only a ten minute journey from the apiary and soon we had brushed the main body of the swarm into their new langstroth hive, leaving the stragglers to follow into the hive using the ‘white sheet by the entrance method’  Today is Monday. 10th June, and the new colony appear to have settled in very well, which we are really pleased about. 

At the end of last week we had some excitement, as our Chedworth hive swarmed.  Harry and Melvin were both around, and so this time they were able to capture the swarm from a hedge in Harry’s field.  It had been wonderful to witness a swarm of bees live, a real wonder of nature.  We placed the swarm into a new Langstroth hive and waited to see what happened.  We observed that many of the bees seemed to regain entry into their old Chedworth hive. 

When Harry checked the  yesterday it was clear that, either the Chedworth swarm had swarmed again, or the majority had rejoined the old colony.  The numbers in the Chedworth  hive certainly appeared to have returned to its previous numbers, having been observed to have previously dwindled.  This is not an exact science and if our supposition is correct, we do not know what happened to the old Chedworth Queen. 

Today, Harry and Melvin carried out some routine maintenance in the apiary to enable the colonies to have the maximum area to grow their comb.

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