Tuesday 8 May 2012

Mis-bee hiving?

So after successfully retrieving the bumble bees on Saturday evening, and installing them and their new bumble home in a prime spot in the garden, I watched and waited on Sunday - nothing! and watched and waited on Monday - nothing! On Monday evening I tentatively tapped the hive to see if there was any audible sign of them being there - nothing. I raised the lid and saw their scruffy ball of a nest, but still no bees. In desperation I gently poked the nest with a stick hoping for some sound or movement -again nothing. I therefore assumed that they must have departed at some point during the previous two days and were now hanging around, homeless, back to their original woodshed site.

From work this morning I called Ali B to check if there were any bees lurking in the woodshed; she said "Yes, but only a couple!". They could of course have been some that were originally left behind but she said she would call around and take the nest box back to her place to try and re-catch the wanderers. As I got back early, and whilst I waited for her to arrive, I thought I might as well get the nest box ready so that she doesn't need to hang about. Imagine my surprise, as I double-double checked that there were no bees inside, to find the little nest ball covered with about twenty bees. In my best Victor Meldrew impression "I couldn't believe it!" Ali and myself then stalled the re-move and discussed what must have been going on. We decided that they were inside all the time probably repairing any damage that inevitably occurred during the move and so not venturing outside a great deal. I also thought it could be a play dead strategy to ward off potential attackers - But what do I know? Anyway the upshot is that they are alive and well, and doing what bees generally do - flying in and out and getting on with bee based activities! 

This little window of warm weather has also brought the main hive to life. I thought they might be ready to swarm as there were so many bees in the air. But I think they were just making the most of some good air time to grab some groceries! And who can blame them?



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