30 June 2008

Bee Gone

Our Bee adventure didn't last long. The very next day the swarm was off.

We saw the swarm milling about, on the verge of absconding, and managed to bring them down again by spraying water into the air with a hose. This time they settled on a downright upright branch in the Very Thorny Lemon Tree, so it wasn't easy to shake them off into a box this time. After clearing away some interfering branches, and with the help of a soft brush, We managed to get them back into the nuc-hive -- a small hive that only carries five frames.

Clearly something was wrong, because the next day they escaped yet again, this time for good.

On my trip to Cape Town last week I made time to stop in at the Honey Bee Foundation -- a slightly nutty Belgian gentleman who has made it his mission to teach The Art to new Beekeepers, and incidentally runs a Bee Supply shop. He was most helpful!

Evidently my mistake was in using all fully-waxed frames in the nuc-box. I should have left a couple of empty frames in the middle to give the Bees space to cluster and keep warm. Actually the middle frames should not be totally empty, but need a small strip of wax along the top of the frame to guide the Bees into building mostly worker-bee cells and not too many drone cells.

In retrospect I also strongly suspect that the swarm was too small -- it really was a tiny swarm. Reading Adrian's Bee catching adventure has made me realise just how small our swarm was!

Having now been bitten (stung?) by the bug, I now very badly want to get a couple of swarms! So: catch-boxes are out, well beyond reach of the Honey Badgers, correctly framed, cleaned of all wax-moth, ants, spiders and dead leaves, sterilised with a blast from the trusty blowtorch.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...