This last couple of weeks has brought a real blessing to Cae Non – we finally have a bee colony in residence! It is amazing news and marks the fulfilment of a long standing desire of mine to have bees involved in our project. Yes that’s right, involved. I don’t cultivate bees, I look after them and the live here. I consider them like I would a person or an animal.
So, the back story. Back at the end of July, I was asked at work how ready I was to be able to take a swarm. As some of you know, I have all the equipment anyway, and bought a hive last year. So I said ‘Now’ to the offer, and a week later I housed the bees (which had been housed and looked after by a friend/work colleague) in my own brood box/hive.
Now, there is a saying on the viability of swarms of bees at different times of year… It goes something along the lines of :
A swarm of bees in May Is worth a load of hay; A swarm of bees in June Is worth a silver spoon; A swarm of bees in July Is not worth a fly
…And my swarm was housed in July. Not that this means they are worthless to me, they are worth a great deal. But it does mean that I’m having to look after them very carefully and feed them 2 – 3 times a week on sugar syrup. Now this isn’t something I like doing as it isn’t the bees’ natural diet, but it will support them in establishing a viable colony.
We moved them down to Cae Non in the second week in August… and they have been there for just over two weeks now. I have fed them about 5 times and they are doing really well. There is still a lot of Balsam and Heather about and they seem to be off out in the surrounding area foraging. They had their first visit from the Bee Inspector last week and he was happy that they are healthy and if I keep on doing what I’m doing, should make it through the winter. So let’s have a closer look at them:
It should be mentioned just how gentle the bees are – I’m not certain I even need to wear my gear when I have the crown board off the hive, though I do of course wear my veil at all times, especially necessary if I have the frames out! They are really placid, but have laid down a lot of honey and grown in strength quite a lot since they were housed. We started off with bees on two frames and honey on another, making three frames in total. That’s more than doubled.
So, the start of another exciting adventure for us – I’m really enjoying the company of the bees so far, and will of course post updates when there is something to report!