Tuesday 29 May 2012: The Queen is dead... Long Live the Queen!
It is a truly awe inspiring moment when the sky goes black and you find yourself surrounded with bees. When I intended catching a new swarm I didn't intend it to go like this but, Mother Nature knows best.
A huge swarm entered the hive this morning. There have been no signs of the expected mortal battle so, I have to assume, the little colony was queenless. The most dangerous moment for a new colony of bees is the moment in which the queen flies out on her mating flight followed by every
male drone in the vicinity. She is very large and an easy target for any bird looking for a tasty morsel. If that is what happened, the little colony will have accepted a new queen without a struggle.
Before bee's swarm, they prepare themselves for a few days without food by gorging themselves with honey. Their abdomens distend and this prevents them from being able to bend. No bending, no stinging. It is not impossible, but highly unlikely that you can get stung by bees whilst swarming. I've collected them unsuited and come home without a single sting. It's not that clever however and I wouldn't recommend it!
I found a facebook album, with a set of photos I took when my hive swarmed, and we managed to collect them, just before I moved into this house. Hope you like it.
Off to make more sugar syrup for the, now, thousands!