bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Friday, July 15, 2005

The year of the swarm

Two swarms in my village in two days (and neither of them mine!) I've had more swarm calls this year than at any time since varroa hit in the mid 1990s. I'm not sure if that's good or bad news. Are there more feral colonies about? I hope not. They'll be harbouring varroa -- and maybe foulbrood. To have two swarms so late in the season is also a bit of a puzzle.

Tonight I picked up the largest swarm I've ever taken. It was so big I thought it might have been an absconding colony, albeit not quite full-size. An elderly woman who claims to like wildlife had sprayed it last night -- to little effect. I gave her a good telling off!

I gave the rescued swarm to a new beekeeper who intends to let them start building comb in my temporary beer-box hive (Grolsch, if you must know) and then after a few days transfer them to her new hive. That way any disease they may be carrying in honey in their stomachs will be used up in wax-building and can then be disposed of. That's the theory anyway.

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