I had believed that after my last post as the ghost blogger for Amelia my duties would be over, as I am expecting her to come back early next week. However, the problem with nature is that we can not predict its course, we can only observe and wonder.
When I returned from England on my own and opened the house I noticed quite a number of bees dead near each window. Then as the evening approached and I sat down with a cup of tea in the stillness of the setting sun I could hear them under the roof space. Looking outside I saw that a lot of bees had found a couple of small holes and were coming and going. I telephoned my friend Michel, the bee keeper, who kindly came and inspected and then returned a second time, fully “armed” and placed an empty hive fully laced with honey and a special product to attract the bees.
In the hours that followed the bees did come out of the roof space and seemed very happy to discover a new source of food so close to home.
More and more bees were attracted to the hive No 2.
But, as Michel explained to me, once the hive was covered by the bees, the queen would no longer enter the hive. So we left it like that for a few hours more. Michel left and I started to get ready for bed. It was then that I noticed what had happened. The queen apparently had abandoned the roof space [thankfully] but indeed had not gone to the new hive, but had settled on the branch of the apricot tree nearby. And the bees had swarmed around her.
There was nothing else I could do as a heavy rain had just started which continued throughout the night. I did telephone Michel again and he returned once more in the morning. This time he brought the hive down from the roof.
and removed the slats inside it.
He then shook the branch of the tree and collected all the bees and the queen in a bucket.
He made sure that as many bees were collected.
Once he was satisfied that he had indeed collected the bees, he literally poured them into the empty hive.
He then proceeded to replace the slats one by one into the hive.
Finally he replaced the cover.
He has now left the complete hive in the garden to give any straggler the chance of returning to their new home.
So, Amelia, I know you always fancied having a bee hive of your own. Now, whether you like or now, for the moment you have a bee hive right in your front garden. Come back soon, please! – K