Sunday, 31 July 2011

Hive Five

You remember at the beginning of the year we had uno hive? A thankfully healthy hive, having come safely though a horribly long and cold winter. And then at the beginning of May we had dos hives, because we THOUGHT we were one step ahead in the outsmarting of Queen Philibert by performing an artificial swarm.

And then at the end of May we had quatros hive, because we actually weren't ahead of the Minxy Philibert who sent out two casts which we caught and set up in a wild and frantic fashion in two more hives. On checking this morning, Queen Philibert's hive was full and needs a second super and cast hive two (the smallest) was three-quarters full and should be okay for Winter.

Well. Yesterday, I went into town to take the grand-daughter shoe shopping, and whilst we we there, Andy, who had stayed home to do some 'computer learning' as he calls it (he is currently learning some intricate computer programming d00-dah in order to develop some phone apps that will become highly profitable and make us a fortune) appeared and said, 'I have two pieces of good news, except one of them may have a possible piece of bad news attached.'

'Okay,' I said. 'What's the good news?'

'One,' said Andy, 'is this rather lovely tax rebate cheque from the Inland Revenue.'

And it was.

'And the second,' said Andy, 'is that we appear to have a bee colony in the roof.'

And thus is looks. There are honeybees flying in and out 'neath a roof tile near the chimney stack. And if you stand in the room at that corner of the house, you can hear a very teeny-tiny scrit-scrit-scritty sound.

These are the theories:

1) That the top-bar hive (cast hive one) at the bottom of the garden, which is full to overspill, has sent off a swarm which has been drawn to the eau-de-lemongrass bait we put on the flat roof and thought, 'Hmmm, this smells nice, let's stay here.'

2) That when Philibert's hive swarmed it sent off not two, but three casts, and one of them decided to evade capture by heading for the chimney.

3) That last year's original Queen, who vanished (hence the late-in-the-season purchase of Queen Philibert) didn't actually vanish at all, she just chose to move next door and up a bit to the penthouse suite.

4) That a random passing swarm has sniffed the eau-de-lemongrass and thought, 'Hmmm...this smells nice, let's stay here.'

Whichever way, we now have a fifth bee colony living in the roof. Even if it's quite likely very small and totally inaccessible.

I don't mind. It's quite nice seeing bees dip in and out of the eaves. It's like they have recognised as as bee-friendly people who have the wherewithall to look after them.

I may have overdone the 'Prayers for Happy Bees' this season, though. Just a tad.


Olly said...

... it sounds exciting, but be warned that when honey starts dripping through the ceiling, you may find it slightly less fun! That may not happen till next year, but it's a real possibility. Unfortunately, once a colony has set up in a roof space or a chimney, destruction is usually the only option. Glad to hear your other hives are all thriving.

Denise said...

Yes, we've been reading all about the delights of 'Honey Interior Design.' Not good...

I think destruction is our only option which makes me sad, but then I think of all the other gazzillion bees we've helped to grow this year and I guess the utilitarian approach is the only way forward.