Church swarm

Harry and Melvin were called to a swarm at a property near to the church in Fulbrook, very close to where Gareth now lives.  Out of courtesy we left a message on his answerphone to say that we were lurking in his backyard with intent to steal a local swarm.  The swarm was large, but fragmented and it was evident that this was not going to be a straightforward take.  Part of the swarm had attached itself to a thick cable like piece of rope and so there was no possibility of cutting this off and letting it drop.  There were two other main groups of the swarm that were on foliage and a thick branch.  There was a gap and a 12 foot drop between us and the swarm location.  Firstly Harry had to secure Melvin as he cut away the foliage around a group of the swarm and brushed the first lot into a box.  A second group were soon brushed in.  At this point a ladder was employed to enable Melvin to cajole and then sweep up a total of five boxes of bees.   At one point we thought that we had not secured a box securely enough, as there were bees congregating on the top a box with bees in.  We then surmised that this was in fact where the Queen was located and the bees were in fact attempting to gain access to her. We made the hole that they had made a bit bigger and they continued to feed themselves into this box.  The bees were calm throughout their ordeal and we were glad to be able to leave very few bees behind.  The owner was very pleased that we had arrived so quickly to sort things out for them, as they had been concerned for their safety.  They gladly donated to our charity to show their appreciation.  We were under time pressures to get the bees back  to their new hive, as our sleeping partner, Greg, who had paid a visit in a supervisory capacity to the scene was waiting at a local hostelry for news of the outcome.  We managed to relocate a high percentage of the bees into  a langstroth hive and encouraged the remainder to walk in using the white sheet method. Sadly, the call of the pint of Guinness meant we were not able to watch the completion of the process, but we were pleased to see that this morning all the signs are good and we are hopeful our new bees will settle with us.  We did get hold of Gareth last night, who was very generous about our raid into his territory, although not happy that he had spent all the previous day writing G on each of the bees that we had taken!  We look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting. Bee safe out there!


About melvin56

passionate about bees, permaculture and biodiversity.....and plymouth Argyle F.C.
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One Response to Church swarm

  1. Paul says:

    Sounds like a huge swarm! You and Harry have got this down to a slick operation now. Interesting how many of your stories seem to end in a pub.

    I’ve been corresponding with someone in Bicester today who has a bumblebee problem, so I suspect I will be moving… oh… 300 bees or so soon. We’re sort of a smaller scale up here in North Oxfordshire.


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