To bee or not to bee…

It’s 11am on a Sunday morning and I’m dressed in full white…overalls, gloves, face mask, hat…I have even taped every pocket and seam with masking tape. There is  no earthly way for any small flying insect to get inside. And there were a hell of a lot of them trying.

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My uncle is an aparist. He raises bees.

Of a spring time, after the cold, partial hibernation of winter, the bees become more active. The hives grow and eventually, they outgrow their home and are forced to relocate.

A group of bees (led by a queen), swarm out of the hive. It is a truly impressive sight. There are thousands of bees in the sky and if you get caught in the thick of the swarm, the air seems to grow dark

When the bees are swarming they are very docile. They are loaded up with honey and if you dont make any sudden movements you shouldn’t be stung.

Apparently…and I’m not sure if this is true, but aparists wear white because bees don’t like dark, hairy things. Probably a link back to their wild bee ancestors who were attacked by bears.
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When opening a hive you can also use a smoker to keep the bees calm. It makes the bees think that there is a bush fire coming and I think they focus on that instead of you. It was my job to operate the smoker. 🙂

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So we made up a new box for the swarm to build a nest in…and then went to find them.

They had taken up tempary residence on the branch of a nearby sapling.

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It was amazing to see. The bees find a safe spot (like a tree branch), the queen will land…and then the rest of the bees will land around her. Within maybe 10-15 minutes, all the bees had made a protective circle around the queen and there were no more bees in the air.

To get the bees from the branch to the box.

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Cut the branch with pruning shears. Don’t bump it.
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Give it a good tap on the top of the box. Bes fall into the box.

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Shut lid before too many bees fly out. Simples 😉

And that was my Sunday.

xxx

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