To my great surprise I looked out of my window on Sunday morning, 9th August, to see lots of bees flying around - too many for a normal day! I rushed outside and lo and behold, my hive had produced a swarm and there they were, whizzing about in a cloud above my head, looking for a new home.
Prepared to follow and capture them, I didn't have to go anywhere, as they went into the copse next door and chose a very tall tree, and the top of that very tall tree, to cluster in. What do I do now I thought. Fire brigade? Helicopter?
Rushed indoors, rang Robin. He's out. Dave was just leaving to go camping. Nor could I get hold of the ace tree climber Lou who is waiting for bees, so I left her a message. Neither of the local bee catchers, both of whom were absolute stars in trying to help, could come up with anything other than putting out a lure box, which I had already done. I had no wax or comb so used a drop of lemon grass to scent the boxes.
Lou and Simon get my message and come over with various bits of hive, hoping to have the swarm. Yours if you can catch it I say helpfully, lending them my binoculars. Much humming and haaing and testing of branches goes on, but this is a really tall tree, a really, really tall tree, and the bees are out on - you guessed it - a limb. We have a cup of tea. We decide there is nothing more to be done except wait. They go home again, hoping that I ring them to say the swarm is reachable.
At 7 pm the bees are still in the same place. I am extremely concerned about their overnight chances. At this point I have very mixed feelings. I appear to have succeeded in increasing the bee population - but after gloomy predictions from the traditional brigade, am worried about their overnight chances.
The next day they are still there and still rejecting the now numerous lure boxes and an extra hive provided by Robin. The sun shines until lunchtime when the wind gets up and the tree top sways alarmingly. I check again mid-afternoon and the bees have gone.
I haven’t seen them since so I’m hoping for the best, that they have done what bees have done for millennia, and found themselves a cosy new home.