With the temperatures comfortable and plenty of flowers in bloom this is the time for swarms.
Have you got a swarm?
This is what swarm looks like. There are probably lots of bees flying round as well. Do not worry – they are not likely to sting you. They are just protecting their queen and looking for a new home.
Does it look like this? This is a honey bee. If they look like this then we are able to deal with them – in fact we would love to. If you are not certain then have a look at the BBKA bee identification page.
So what do you do now?
Estimate how big it is – golf ball, cricket ball, football, bigger? (That way we know what we need.)
Do you know the approximate postcode of the swarm location. (It just helps you find the nearest swarm collector.)
Look on the BBKA website at the swarm map and find the nearest collector.
Ring them and let them know what you have and where.
Swarms do not hang around so the sooner we know the better we are able to help the bees.
If you do not get an answer then try another collector.
So what do I do if I am called?
First I will check that they are honey bees. We cannot help with wasps or bumble bees.
I will ask you you how big the swarm is.
I will ask you where it is. If you have “what3words” on your phone then that is best.
What3words is available as an app we should all have on our phone – identifies anywhere within 3 metres.
I will put the things I need in the car and drive to the location.
Once there I will assess the situation and if it is safe to do so I will collect the swarm.
So why bother to call me?
I will remove the bees with a minimum of disruption.
I will rehouse them with a beekeeper.
You know they won’t set up home in your chimney, under the eaves or in a tree near you.
You may even get a jar of honey later as sign of the bees and our appreciation.
Last year was very quiet on the Asian Hornet side. I was not called out at all and there were very few incidents nationally.
We have been wondering why this was the case and one possible answer was the fact that there was not a lot of tourist traffic across the Channel. This year could be very different.
We have already one confirmed sighting in Felixstowe area – again a sighting close to a port. As Dorset is close to several channel ports we should be especially alert.
Next week is a crucial week in this respect. The holiday season is getting under way and there are plenty of people crossing the Channel and by the end of the week it will be a lot warmer. Ideal conditions for the emerging Queens.
It is not just the apiary – be aware on country walks, visits to garden centres, sitting in the garden.
Check out the Asian Hornet information on Beebase.
If you are a beekeeper have you done the Asian Hornet test on the BBKA site.
On a brighter note this week there was a Social for members, and prospective members, at the Colliton Club. It was very well attended with over 20 members present. It is an excellent opportunity to get advice, give advice or just enjoy a good chat.
If you are interested in polystyrene hives then I have just added one to the For Sale page. It is unused and for those who are finding they have more colonies than hives then this is an opportunity not to be missed.
April Social – Yes there is a social in April. It will be April 7th at the Colliton Club in Dorchester and runs from 7pm to 9pm. For those who have not been before it is a welcome opportunity to meet other beekeepers of all levels of experience in an informal setting. It is very informal and you can turn up when you want and you can go home when you want. Ask any questions you want or contribute your experiences or just enjoy a drink.
Bee Convention: Don’t forget the Bee Convention over the weekend of the 8th to 10th April. Too late for advanced booking but not too late to go.
Dates for your calendar World Bee Day 20th May Bees Needs Week 11th-17th July TBC Asian hornet week 5th -11th September
Additional Event weeks of note Pollinator Week 20-26th June Solitarybeeweek.com 27-3rd July
Just a quick note that there are more items on the For Sale page deeper into this web site. This sale includes a Honey Warming Cabinet and a Wax Extractor.
And whilst I have your attention can I point out that it is the AGM of the Dorset Beekeepers’ Association on Sunday 20th March (Just a month from today!) at Sunninghill School Hall in Dorchester. This year it will be the first opportunity for a long time for us beekeepers to meet each other face to face – apart from at cheese and wine parties!
Come to the talk on Thursday 17th February at 19:30 at the Colliton Club we have a talk by Kevin Pope- Seasonal bee Inspector – on what he found last year. This is an event not to be missed if you want to know what we need to look for this year.
And if you are not sure what the photos are then you should definitely be at the talk.
And the wind? Thursday is the quiet before the storm – quite literally. If your hives are not strapped down then now is the time to do it. We are expecting winds of up to 70mph – the worst for many years.
If your hive is strapped together and blows over then on Saturday all you have to do is lift it back onto its stand and apologise to the bees!
And finally search on Google for “BeeInfo” – all one word. There I am building up a site of much that I know about bees. The URL is https://dorsetbka.com/BeeInfo/