I’d left some equipment behind in the old location I used to keep bees, and hadn’t got around to moving it yet. Some new visitors took advantage of this des res – a brood box with a few frames in, a floor, and an inspection board acting as a roof, all piled up on top of a load of empty equipment. They’re against a wall and have a hedge and trees the other side, providing shelter from the Cornish rain, and – in the last few days – the Cornish sun!
I was surprised at how large a swarm it was. A couple of weeks on, the brood box is full of bees. On my first inspection, I looked for eggs but found none. I filled in the empty spaces in the box with new frames of foundation. I inspected again four days later and was happy to spot larvae.
The next job to do is move them to the same location as my other bees. The swarm is especially lucky as my sole remaining colony, headed up by Queen Oilel (named by reader Disperser), seems to be queenless (or at least, she has stopped laying if she’s there). Sorry Emilio, your Queen didn’t last long.
I discovered a few fat slugs living in the corner of the brood box, which I ejected for the bees, using my hive tool to pick them up and gently place them elsewhere. I then had to change my hive tool, as unfortunately I discovered bees get stuck to slug slime! Which is presumably why the slugs get away with it.
The bees have been taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine after the rain. On my last visit they had bulging light grey pollen baskets – I believe from blackberry brambles. Honey bees and bumbles can also be spotted enjoying clover at the moment.
In my garden, campanula has been very popular, attracting honey bees but also more unusual small solitary bees a third of the size of the big honeys. If you look closely below you can spot a honey bee nestled in one of the flowers. The campanula self-seeds and drapes itself daintily everywhere, seemingly needing barely any soil at all.