Posted: Saturday 6th June 2015 by 30DaysWild2015

Bee keeper smoking his colonyBee keeper smoking his colony

A chance encounter leads to a surprising Random Act of Wildness today

Bees!

I had plans for my Random Act of Wildness this morning and as soon as I had finished chatting to a friend of mine I intended to set out.  As he was leaving the kitchen door he made a chance remark about checking his most recent acquisition of bees.  He suggested I accompany him at some stage.  I'm afraid my plans were cast aside, his hand was nearly bitten off and I was soon in his garden struggling into his wife's bee keeper's protective clothing.  That must have been a sight for sore eyes as she must be about a foot shorter than me and, of course, the gear fits from head to ankle, it's basically a 'onesie'!

Inspecting the hive

Over the next 20 minutes I had a crash course in the life cycle of a hive.  This one needed to be checked to determine whether it had successfully settled down after the harvesting of the swarm of bees from someone's garden.

I'd never really worked out why smoke makes it safer to dismantle the hive; apparently the bees' reaction to the implicit danger from the burning cardboard is to consume as much of the honey as possible so that if they have to flee they can carry all that investment in energy with them to a safe place.  This makes them rather lethargic and so safer to handle.  I recognise that feeling!

I was shown the signs that revealed that the colony had settled well, cells were being constructed and eggs were being laid.

Inspecting the combsI could write for ages about all that I learned in those 20 minutes but that would make this blog rather too long!

I could also write about the threats that face our bees and I'm sure that if you have found this blog you understand the importance of bees to the rest of the natural and man-made world.

Obviously I write here about honey bees but both they and our native bumblebees carry out pollination and share many of the same threats to their survival.  Find out more here.

That was an unexpected and fascinating morning!

 

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