Dad and I took an outing yesterday to collect a swarm of bees. What better way to undertake some father-daughter bonding when you only own one bee suit (which I rocked) meaning that when bees are present, the other person has to stay a sensible distance away from said bee-suited individual. Clearly, we'll have to repurpose one of Farmer Humph's sun hats by glamorously draping a veil over it...
Watching bees settling into the weird, insect-dripping organism that is a resting swarm is fascinating. This swarm was in the two castes pictured above. We knocked the bees from their resting place into a box, swept up some of the remainders, and returned close to sunset to transport the box back to the farm.
The father-daughter bonding ended slightly at this point when my driving was classified as "too bumpy" for the bees...this from a man who swerves around potholes at the last-minute. But, we all survived the journey and the bees are over-nighting in an idyllic spot overlooking the river, pasture and apple blossom. Hopefully the pampered bees will decide to stay and long may the father-daughter bonding continue!
I think this is a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum). Apparently, no other British bee looks anything like a Tree Bumblebee: "If you have trouble remembering... just imagine a furry mint humbug"...Eureka! We've found the unique, bumblebee equivalent of Humbug, the abbreviated collie!
Such excitement at Lower Dairy Farm! Our hell-raising, marauding warrior queen, Bo-bo (the original Iceni nickname for Boudica), was not the only arrival this week. She joined the less regal Brendan and Brian, our herd accountants.
To recap, so far this year, the calves Bathsheba, Blossom, Betsy, Bingo, Bo-jo (Boris), Brendan, Brian and Boudica have joined the herd. Cracking names so far, and given this is the year of the 'B', we're hoping our hive will soon be filled with Horkesley Honeybees.
One picky swarm decided not to settle in the lovely hive next to a field of clover and wildflowers (they must read the blog). Whilst my Queen Bee complex says "How very dare they leave me!", I am working through this by donning my bee suit to sweet talk/waggle dance nicer bees into coming to live with Brian.Perhaps if I dressed up as a giant bee, I'd have more success?
If you hear of a swarm of honeybees, let us know! (email@example.com). If you see a nutter in a giant bee costume, report them to Animal Control.