Wild Honey Bee Colony Collection Petersfield 21st June 2015
When I wrote ‘wild’ in the title, this was reference to them having swarmed and now being in ‘colony’ mode, namely they would be fervidly building comb to enable the queen to lay brood and increase the colony size.
This being the case, the #bees are generally a little more defensive, many folks think a #honey bee colony is aggressive, however the opposite is true, I am after all taking apart their new home, I would be a tad wild too!
The approach on this occasion was pretty standard stuff, they had been there 4 days, as such I was expecting three comb in various stages of development.
Using old frames I prepared trusty elastic bands to retain the comb I would effectively be slicing form the compost bin roof.
It is always a pleasant surprise when not one attempt to sting is made, being organised and firm but gentle in your approach minimises the upset.
Within a few minutes the existing comb was secured in frames, the majority of the colony was in the collection box and the entrance to the collection box situated as close as possible to where the existing entrance was.
Immediately after the initial physical collection is my favourite time, when you collect a #swarm in the evening, it can literally be a case of collect, then you are in the car driving away with the bees five minutes later, that is, if, the collection is clean and complete, with the case of colony collection the expectation is that you will need to wait or thirty to sixty minutes after the initial collection to allow the remaining bees to march into the collection box.
This is an important step, because unless you have identified the queen in the collection box, you may end up leaving her behind which generally means the slow but certain demise of the entire colony.
Below you can see a few bees fanning, at one point there were over a dozen, which prompted many remaining bees in the compost bin below to emerge.
After closing the collection box a quick check of the compost bin revealed there were only a few stragglers left, whilst regrettable it is to be expected, the fewer the better though.