Friday, 13 July 2012


Last  year we bought a nucleus of bees, that is a small number of bees from which to build up a full colony.  Sadly after a stressful year and a really bad wasp problem, they died before Christmas. We don't know if it was starvation, or just that they were generally weak, but we were pretty upset about it; especially me as I'd been looking after them while Mr H was living in Scotland.

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?


  1. a clueless person....I'm in awe that you can just go 'pick up a swarm' from someone's tree!

    HOLY cow.... I didn't know it worked that way.
    I don't know how I THOUGHT it worked.....LOL....I just know I didn't think it worked THAT way!

  2. Yay, brilliant. They'll be in good hands.

  3. Mel, I'm not sure whether it's the legality or the practicality that you're not sure of about picking up a swarm.

    Legality... a swarm has no owner (no-one can prove that they own them unless they've marked each and every bee!), so it belongs to whoever collects it. Beekeeping associations usually have people who will come and get a swarm from your garden, but if you happen to know a beekeeper then anyone can go and get it.

    Practicality... some instances are simpler than others. If a nice neat swarm is hanging in a cluster in someone's tree you can just knock it off into a box, or you can 'scoop' the bees (gently!) with your hands.


    1. I didn't know EITHER.....and I remain in awe that you'd actually come to my house and pick up a swarm--by hand if I called!

      Are you NUTZ?!?!?!

      No, but you're brave beyond the realms of my experience!

      <-- allergic to bee stings
      (just sayin'........)

    2. Haha well that's why we wear protective suits! With the proper gear (with no holes in the head-net...) it is rare to get stung.
      but... we're not allergic to bee stings!

  4. Rosie, they are doing well so far.We're feeding them as the weather is so bad, and they are busy on all the frames in the hive which is a good sign :-) x


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