A nucleus of bees costs around £200 to buy, so we weren't just going to go out and buy another one only for the same thing to happen. We resigned ourselves to hoping we'd get a swarm in the hive we put in a strategic place in the garden,or possibly acquire some a bit cheaper from a local beekeeper. Meanwhile the hive containing a small cluster of dead bees sat in our friends' field over the winter while we kept saying 'we must go and bring that home'.
A few weeks ago we got a call from our friend saying that there was lots of activity around the hive: it appeared that we had a swarm in it from somewhere, brilliant! They seem pretty strong, and we are feeding them because of the awful British weather at the moment. Hopefully they will build up to a strong colony before winter hits (and wasp season for that matter).
Then yesterday one of my girl friends got a swarm flying around in her garden, which finally settled in her apple tree. I called Mr H - 'Can you get out of work to go and get a swarm...?'. Sure thing he could, so we now have a new swarm in the hive in our garden, right next to the vegetable patch!
If everything goes to plan, and these two new colonies survive the winter, maybe we'll even get some honey next year.... or is that tempting fate?