bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, March 06, 2006

Grumpy bees leave the village

When I take friends on an apiary tour, the thing that usually surprises them is the different temperament of the bees. The variation is usually most striking between the three apiaries rather than within them. Yesterday, there was a graphic representation of this.

Last season, friends wanted a hive in their very large garden and I duly obliged. But, by the time autumn came, I realised that these bees had a distinctly grumpy disposition. So I decided to move them out -- and, in a grand restructuring exercise, to close one apiary and open a new one.

So, three colonies were being moved. Two barely seemed to notice that they were being transported. But that third one was decidedly upset. Hundreds of its bees appeared at the travelling screen to see what was going on -- and what a racket they created. They are now safely established in their new countryside apiary and I'll see if they settle down. But already I'm planning to requeen them as soon as our late spring allows.


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