Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Day the Bees Moved In

Bees are in decline; they are just not as plentiful as they once were. Today was the first real hot humid day of the summer. This was bee swarming weather.  Bee swarms occur when the queen bee gets uncomfortable within her surroundings and decides to go off and make a new nest. Quite honestly this can be anywhere. 
My wife normally leaves a couple of bedroom windows open just to let the air circulate a little but, on this particular day, it was the queen and her bees doing the circulating. I arrived home from work and went upstairs as I normally do to have a wash and get changed into some lighter clothes, when I heard a faint buzzing sound.  I looked into the kids’ bedroom and there were a few bees in the half of the window that didn’t open, effectively trapping them in. Looking around the bedroom for some kind of tool to alleviate the situation, I espied a badminton racquet which I quickly grabbed and with which I lightly pushed them out, thinking that this was the end of the episode. However, when I carried on to my bedroom, I heard more buzzing, which seemed to be most horrendous. On opening the bedroom door, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The window sill was about three inches thick with bees and there were quite a few buzzing around.  The noise within the bedroom was unsettling and I could see that the window was closed. How was I to get them out without disturbing them and being stung half to death? A full bee suit and smoke are things that I have not got readily to hand. “Badminton racquet,” I thought.  I went back to get it and returned to my buzzing bedroom. Badminton racquet in hand, looking towards the bedroom window, I was wondering how on earth I was going to open it. “Fishing rod,” I thought.  I went back downstairs to the dining room and picked the shorter of the two fly rods and raced back upstairs to the bee situation, which seemed to be quietening down. They were now starting to get too hot as the sun beamed through the glass - they all seemed to be looking far too comfortable. I put the rod to the catch of the window and, on the fourth attempt, the catch gave way and the window opened, I breathed a sigh of relief.  It was now time to move in with the badminton racquet.  I grabbed a pillow from the bed, removed it from its case and proceeded to pull it over my head and neck to protect myself. However, I then found I couldn’t see at all, so I discarded this and went in just with the racquet. I started to slide them slowly across the window sill to the open window.  A few agitated bees started to fly around the room with much more impetus to find the culprit who was pushing them along. Eventually, after two or three minutes, they were all pushed through the window and the window tightly closed after the last bee had passed through it. This was all done without a single sting. I was really quite chuffed.

Bee keepers aim to produce 60lbs of honey per hive per year, and this busy little bee in our garden is doing its best to keep the statistics on the right side of good.

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