Best beehiviour

I went into town to fill the car up for my journey to London tomorrow and called in at the shop for empty boxes, to be filled at Weeza and Phil’s flat. The phone rang; it was Dilly, saying that the bee man had rung to say he’d bring the nucleus of Al’s hive during the evening. Al looked harassed. “I haven’t started shutting up, I haven’t done the order list; I won’t be home until at least 7 o’clock” he protested. They were all ready. They were coming, ready or not.

I offered to shut up shop, but after some discussion we agreed that I’d do Al’s deliveries and then go home and start scything the long grass. Al arrived home by 6.30, leaving much of the clearing up to be done later. He was quite surprised at the inroads I’d made into the sea of nettles and docks. I’d said grass, but there was little of that. It was a large area that had been occupied by chickens for several years and only the inedible weeds were left. Blue Witch had given me advice last year on a good area to put the beehive (her first choice, which I rejected, was the tennis court) so I knew roughly where to cut. Nettles over 4 feet high are placed just right to catch you as they fall. Both arms and, through my teeshirt, much of my front were tingling within moments and I was itching from the clouds of gnats that rose from the greenery. The Sage got stung by a horse-fly in the same area the other day; his arm is still swollen.

The Sage was sent off for fish and chips, as I no longer felt like cooking. We all trooped out to see the bees being put into place later. They are in a box – about 2,000 of them with their queen – and as soon as the plug was taken out, they started to come out to investigate their new surroundings. If the weather is good, Al will transfer them into the hive, which he will put in the same place as the box is now. It’s all very exciting. I will not be here, I’ll have to get someone to take photos. If I can find the lead for the camera, that is. I’ve got the part that plugs into the computer, but the one that recharges it wasn’t where I expected it to be.

14 comments on “Best beehiviour

  1. Blue Witch

    Ah, more Stripey Familiars!

    I’m sure Al’s already been given advice on transferring the nuc to a full size hive, but, if one asks a dozen beekeepers for advice, one will get 20 (if not 200) different recommended methods, so I’ll provide mine…

    On a calm evening, put the frames into the middle of a full-size hive, already containing enough frames of wax foundation to make up the required number of frames in the box (half the new frames on each side of the existing ones).

    I’d stick an Ashworth gallon feeder of thick sugar syrup on top to give them something to use to draw out (wax) the empty frames, unless there was an excellent flow of nectar on (which I doubt there is in June as the OSR has finished and the beans aren’t out yet – round here anyway).

    All this will keep them very busy and stop them absconding (also why it’s recommended to do the transfer in the evening).

    Good luck, and if they need any advice you know where I am. We’ve helped hundreds of beginners over the years, and have heard/seen it all!!!!

  2. Ally

    What scythe do you use? Our weekend with the downsizer’s included some scything tuition, and B is desperate to get one.

    Good luck in That London.

  3. Z

    Yes, Mmmmmm, Dave. And thanks for the advice, BW, which I will pass on. The bees have been busy today – exploring their new territory, I suppose. If the weather isn’t reasonable tranquil over the weekend, the transfer will wait a day or two extra.

    Martin, I should have had a plate of pie and mash with liquor for lunch, that would have really made you rush back to London in a hurry.

    John, I didn’t know if I’d said something salacious for a moment there. D’you know what I do to people who tease? I kiss them. Scares them so much they never risk it again. MWAH.

    Ooh, Tower Hamlets! Bethnal Green! Amazing where a SatNav will take you. A much simpler route than the one I’ve used before, but easier to make a mistake so I don’t think I’d have risked it without my electronic friend. Manic, darling, you say the nicest things.

    We did have to order the scythe, Ally – I’ll look and see if it has a name on. We had one for years which finally fell apart – this is quite lightweight with an aluminium handle and wooden grips, but it’s well balanced.

  4. Honey

    oh bees are very good, they are so wise. I’ve always wanted bees..

    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.”


  5. Z

    I read ‘On Walden Pond’ many years ago, Honey. Ahead of his time, Thoreau.

    Nothing better than honey – except, possibly, sugar and spice of course.

  6. Z

    Excuse me, Dave? Some respect for your elders and, if you please.

    But they only use their sting
    If you swipe them on the wing.
    Or else they’re calm and worker bees
    Pollinate the cherry trees.

  7. Id Entity

    Do AppleMacs have a symbol to denote a round of applause, z? My pc is woefully inadequate in that dept, but if I had one, I’d use it now.

    And I’ve just noticed your lovely sugar and spice comment! I love it!

    ps Is that like “On Golden Pond”, or am I thinking of something different?


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