Would you like some bees? The caller was offering me a swarm, and half an hour later the latest colony arrived in a cardboard box wrapped in a sheet. The swarm was from a fellow Dicklebees bee-keeper, and that evening they appeared to have settled in well to their new home, joining the three other colonies in Glebe Meadow. Two of the other colonies have started the year well, although the third is proving a challenge since the queen decided to stop laying last summer. The cold spring is also unhelpful in reducing queen laying and bee activity in general. We hope it warms up while there is still a profusion of spring flowers full of pollen and nectar.
Swarms comprise a queen and about half the parent hive, and swarms normally occur when there’s a new queen on the block or when the colony is running out of room in the hive. These can signal the departure of the older queen and perhaps 5-10,000 bees in the search for new premises. This is bee reproduction at a colony scale. Swarms normally have to be retrieved from a tree or hedge (if lucky), or a chimney (if unlucky), and if one arrives in your garden and you would like it removed, then we may be able to help. Please call one of us as soon as you see it. If a swarm of bees arrives one afternoon, bee scouts will be searching for a permanent location, and they will all be gone the next day – so don’t delay. We may be able to offer a swarm a home in Glebe Meadow, or will know of a bee-keeper who would be able to look after it. Our local bee group Dicklebees, has a registered swarm collector who covers this part of South Norfolk, and we also help him with swarm gathering from almost anywhere except chimneys.
So please get in touch if you are interested in bees and bee keeping and would like to join us or help us, or as soon as you encounter a swarm. Or if you just enjoy Starston honey, then contact me or Dinny Turner in Wood Lane (854593).
Peter Grimble, Starston Community Bee Group, 852819