Bee-loud glade

He: “We have visitors!”

Me: Puzzled silence.

“They’ve brought their luggage and moved in!” He continued quickly.

Me: “Wow!” Penny dropping. “A swarm. Which box?”

“They were very loud. It was like an airplane directly over my head.” He said excitedly ignoring my question.

“I looked up and there was a massive amount of bees coming for me. I thought they were going to attack me.  I thought I was going to be the end of me

!” he paused briefly re-experiencing the shock before he continued. “I knew that bees in swarms don’t sting, so I stood my ground.”  “The speed! They covered the place like a cloud. You couldn’t see the box. They were all over it! They very quickly ran into the hive. I was amazed how fast they went in” He paused again, then more quietly “It’s the first time I’ve seen a swarm.” He admitted.

This was one of my patrons who phoned
me to tell me the news. One of those encouraging, friendly farmers that allow me, want me, to keep beehives on their land. This particular farm had a couple of my best producing hives until last year when they were obliterated. Despite my best efforts, they just did not survive the winter.  Ach, 2020 was such a bad year for Irish beekeepers, was it that or was it something I did wrong, I’ll never know. He shared my grief and disappointment then at their loss.

His mother had kept bees and up to 20 years ago his brother had keep beehives in the exact south-facing, but very exposed spot on the same long concrete stand, that this hive now occupied. Despite his life-long proximity to bees and beehives my dear patron had never before seen a swarm. He was absolutely thrilled to have witnessed one (once he knew he wasn’t going to die there and then), and on his land, and in ‘our’ hive.  This is one of the many joys of beekeeping, that I could in some small way facilitate this once-in a lifetime experience of an elderly man and share his excitement and delight at our new squatters.

Short video of a swarm of bees going to a bait hive (not same have as above)

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