Wild at heart

By EmmaSTennant

The shook swarm is coming

It's March and the shook swarm is almost here. Today's rain gave Emily and me more time to prepare our hives before shaking the bees into their spring homes. I arrived at the apiary with my dad's blow torch ready to blast out the old brood boxes and give them a really good spring clean. We soon attracted a small crowd of curious newcomers asking lots of questions, and more experienced beeks watching our efforts with bemusement. I haven't used a blow-torch before and, unlike most beeks, I'm not a natural at woodwork and DIY, so it took lots of focus to torch the wood and also chat.

After a while, the crowd drifted back to the apiary long table to enjoy a delicious homemade almond and honey cake baked by Emily, and a cup of tea. We set up the new hives boxes next to our colonies and took a quick peek under the roofs. Queen Lavender's bees have now eaten a small hole in their fondant, while Queen Rosemary's bees are still using up their winter honey stores.

If the weather is fair next week, the bees will move into their new homes. Meantime, we still have new brood frames to make, and plenty of tea and cake to drink and eat.

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