Last week we were just checking on the chicks, when Ian spotted a swarm of bees clustering around the base of one of the young apple trees. Oh no! We were hoping they wouldn't swarm this year, and this one was going to be difficult to collect as it was so low. If you read the books, they say 'collect a swarm by cutting the branch it's hanging from and letting it fall into a cardboard box'. Not this one - and we really didn't have time to deal with it.
But by chance Ian's bee mentor, from nearby Hollocombe, had rung the day before about going through his own hives. We called him back and he offered to collect ours. Here's a short video of the process. Rashid doesn't feel the stings badly anymore, and prefers to work without gloves. And he doesn't even bother with a veil until he starts disturbing the bees.
So if you think of bee swarms pursuing cartoon characters who have to leap into the nearest pond, have a look at this video and then think again!
When bees swarm they fill up with honey to fuel them in their search for a new home. This makes them remarkably placid. And anyway, they're busy doing their own thing and not out to sting passers by. If you see a swarm don't panic! If you know a local bee keeper call them and they will probably collect. Otherwise, the bees will sort themselves out sooner or later - the scouts are looking for a suitable home, and once they find one they'll tell the others and the swarm will move off.