a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Uninvited Guests

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.

IMG_0886In 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.

IMG_0894More and more bees were attracted to the hive No 2.

IMG_0897But, 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.

IMG_0916There 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.

IMG_0928and removed the slats inside it.

IMG_0929He then shook the branch of the tree and collected all the bees and the queen in a bucket.

IMG_0936He made sure that as many bees were collected.

IMG_0937Once he was satisfied that he had indeed collected the bees, he literally poured them into the empty hive.

IMG_0940He then proceeded to replace the slats one by one into the hive.

IMG_0948Finally he replaced the cover.

IMG_0951He 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

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