Tuesday, 14 October 2014

To Bee or not To Bee?

Way back in July, we experienced an exciting phenomenon of a swarm of bees actually 'swarming'.  The scale of this was such that we actually heard the bees swarming before we could see them.

We later learnt that this was a Prime swarm meaning that there was a good number of bees (upwards of 30000) present around the Queen bee.

I've seen three previous sets of bees swarming but none on this scale.  The Hubby was a bit freaked out - it being his first swarming event to witness.  It really is an impressive sight.  I was too busy watching to run and grab my camera so I missed catching the cloud of bees to illustrate but they did physically dominate the space at the front of two large detached houses, the whole main road and front gardens to the opposite houses.  An awesome sight to behold.

As we watched, the bees gradually settled on a tree opposite our house.  I know from previous experiences that once they've settled they aren't dangerous being heavy with honey and it was at this point I could get up close and photograph them in their banana shape around the Queen and a chosen branch of the tree.
I called up the local Bee Association and they sent a Bee Keeper out to me.  This was initially complicated by the American Brood Disease restriction being placed on the movement of swarms within 5km distances but the Bee Keeper had a contact that would mean they could relocate the swarm into a newly managed hive locally - fantastic!!
The process of getting the swarm into a collection chamber wasn't too technical - the keeper simply knocked the heavy swarm from the branch into the box hoping that he'd knocked the Queen into the box.  He then left the box at the foot of the tree for the remaining bees to move into - following the pheromone of the Queen.  Then it was a bit of a sit and wait - watching to see whether more bees moved into the box and whether indeed he'd been successful in collecting the Queen or not.
Once it was established we'd collected the Queen they returned at around 8 pm when the bees were less lively to move them to their new hive.  Essentially the slides were stretched with fresh bees wax and were literally dripping with bees - they were so large in number.
This whole event literally felt like a sign to me.  Not one week before I'd been sat with the Hubby talking about a Bucket List of experiences that we'd each like to achieve while we are still able.  His contained things like: parachute jump, run New York marathon, exotic travel etc.  Mine included: starting to sell handmade products at craft fairs, going to Yarndale and bee keeping.  Yes - I have a huge desire (and have done since childhood) to manage my own Hive.  Due to this swarm I made the connections to start my journey along this path. Indeed, if I had had the right equipment I could have started with this very swarm back in July!  

So, my pledge to myself is that I will allow myself the time, give myself the confidence to attend Bee Association meetings and start an apprenticeship so that I will bring about managing my own hive within the next two-three years.  

There.  A definite pledge to myself.  I don't often prioritise myself - we don't as mums do we?  But in this case myself with my Little Man (who is an avid bee lover) will be proactive in making this actually happen.  What a sight to witness so closely though.  The inspiring magic of nature.
Ooooo the excitement!  Hope you have some excitement - in whatever form - however diverse - wherever you are in the world!

J9 x


  1. We had a swarm like this in TX. It was an amazing sight to behold and we too took lots of pictures.. We lived in the country though so we didn't call anyone to come collect them we just let nature takes its course and it wasn't long before they were all gone.......moved off to a new home.... They swarm when the hive gets too big and a group needs to split off........ Good luck on your bee keeping..... Hugs! deb

  2. I would absolutely love to keep bees one day too, they're wonderful. I saw some swarming along the high street a couple of years ago, it was quite incredible. Such amazing creatures. Good luck with following this dream of yours. I shall enjoy following your progress, and no doubt I shall learn and be inspired too. CJ xx

  3. What an exciting day it must have been for you and how great that your children got to see the bees moving to their new hive! I think that it is great that you are going to do this for yourself and take the time for yourself too! I wish you all the best with it and will be reading with interest to see how it all goes as it sounds fascinating. xx

  4. Wow. That must have been equal parts exciting and scary. I have a bee allergy, so I can never keep them myself, but I find beekeeping fascinating. I'm really excited to see how it goes for you.