BEES #DecsHive

DecsHive Bees

About three years ago I got a call from my big brother to say that he was clearing out his Father in Laws shed (not sure why as the man was still alive!) and there were the makings of three bee hives in very good condition and did I want them? Did I what!! Since moving to Decsplot I have had pigs,ducks,hens,chickens and turkeys (nearly time to get their run ready for this years flock) and grown all sorts of fruit and veg both inside and out but I have always wanted bees ever since reading ‘Bee Keeping for Dummies’- not sure why I was given that particular book! So the hives arrived in a kind of an ‘IKEA’ style – all mixed up with no instructions and probably a few bits missing! Not having any actual bees to put in them they were parked neatly (although there is a certain female who may disagree with that fact!) in the garage and ignored until this year when one of the local bee keepers aka The Bull- (long story), who also fixes lawnmowers, chainsaws, builds walls, houses and anything else you need done said if he got a swarm he would give ma a shout. Actually before I go on I think that term ‘Bee Keeper’ is over rated as people don’t ‘keep’ bees as they can decide to feck off any time they like and they have been taking perfectly good care of themselves for thousands of years. I think bee Helper is better. We supply the hive and somewhere sheltered and the bees do the rest. Within a week I got a call to say he had a swarm I was delighted and took a few hours off work (don’t tell them!) to go and collect the swarm and the Bull but he hadn’t closed them in the previous night so they couldn’t be moved- I was gutted but we agreed to move them in two days. Lunch time the next day in the middle of eating a sandwich the Bull rings to say he’s ready to move the swarm! For feck sake I’m nowhere near home so a few calls later to my ‘busy’ wife (how she manages to get a lovely suntan with all the house work she is doing I will never know!) and my friend Tommy –also a bee minder and the new arrivals were settled in DecsHive at DecsPlot. I spent a good hour sitting about 3 feet from the hive that evening just watching them buzzing around and have spent most coffee breaks from Decsplot in the same seat. So began the adventure and they seemed to be a very strong hive and set about making their new ready by drawing out comb and collecting nectar and pollen. They really were as busy as bees with 10/15 bees coming and going from early till late. Tommy came up a week later and I had my first look inside the hive. It was amazing how much they had done in a few days and everything looked good. New bees were being born as we watched and they seemed happy and were not too bothered with us having a look into their world. I don’t believe in interfering too much with nature (this statement is tested to the limits later!) so we left them for a couple of weeks to get on as they were starting from scratch and it was mid July. They had a huge amount of work to do to get ready for winter. Our next visit revealed a lot more bees but not many more frames drawn out and some Queen cells which Tommy thought was unusual so after checking various books and sites it looked like the positioning of these cells could mean that they were going to swarm! Not a good thing as those left behind might not make honey to get through the winter. It was decided that we/I would destroy the Queen cells. Now being a novice (not an excuse) I did this but immediately felt that it was the wrong thing (a bit late for the now late departed Queens) and have regretted it ever since. As Tommy is my bee guru he also has a bee guru and he called him. Unfortunately he was away but said that because we got a swarm the Queen could be old and maybe not be up to scratch and that the colony had decided to replace her. This made me feel even worse as I may have killed the new saviour of the hive! We opened up the hive again and discovered that there were no larvae but still sealed brood cells and a good bit of honey and one (fingers and toes crossed) Queen cell. It is like being in a maternity hospital wearing a hole in the carpet pacing up and down waiting for news! On the bright side my bee gurus’ guru has said he will get me a frame with eggs if they don’t produce a Queen in a few weeks and this should be the saviour of the hive. This was a few days ago and I may be imagining but the hive is very subdued and seem to be hanging around waiting for something or some bee to pull them out of their depressed state. They are still collecting nectar but not in the same numbers that they were. We can only wait and hope Mother Nature does her stuff and I won’t be as quick to act next time, lesson learned…………..to be contd

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