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Bee busy

I couldn\’t do any thing yesterday because I was rushing around – I had to be ferried to the Tregothnan estate by my Beekeeping Mentor as my gels were plotting another swarm. I\’m rather offended by this as the colony I\’ve been looking after has just been split and Madam and half the bees were moved in their lovely new hive to a lovely new place full of flowers near the only tea-growing estate in England.
***
No dice. We counted five queen cells with larvae and royal jelly in them on Saturday and once the process has started, it\’s not really possible to stop. And these are notorious swarmy bees anyway. So Beekeeping Mentor drove me back on Sunday, having made eleven brood frames for me. I got number 2 son to hammer in the final nails so the gels would have a roof and we did some cunning swapping of hives so that the gels would think they\’d swarmed already and calm down about it.
***
In the process we nearly lost Madam. We were transferring her in a queen trap to a brood frame with no queen cells – two queens in one hive will fight to the death – when Madam just climbed up and flew off. We couldn\’t see her anywhere and we were about to give up when I luckily found her again just next to my foot. A moment later and she was back in her new hive – very relieved we were too.
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I hope she\’s got over her mad lust for adventure. You\’re a bee, Madam. Birds would eat you. Stay put now, please.

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