My daughter woke me this morning to tell me that another swarm had arrived. I’ve no idea where it came from, but the bees were still in the air when I got to a window and were clearly starting to settle low down in an apple tree. Unfortunately the cardboard box I used to capture the last one wasn’t really in a fit state for another outing so I needed to get a new one and I didn’t have any of an appropriate size. In the end I decided to make one by cutting down a larger box, which actually means I now have something that should be a little more sturdy. Having spent half an hour or perhaps a little longer doing that I collected together everything I needed, laid it out on the grass next to the tree and went back inside to put on my bee suit. As I lifted it off the rail and turned to face the window I saw all the bees suddenly lift into the air again, clearly already intent on moving to a new home. They’d not even been there two hours. We watched as they moved off and I realised they were heading towards the apiary, so I followed them.
One of my hives died out a couple of weeks back despite all my efforts to keep it going. I think the weather had just ground them down to the point where they no longer had the numbers to remain viable despite making it through the winter. Dismantling it, melting down the comb and sterilising the hive parts for re-use was on my list of stuff to do this week, but the swarm had already found it and was busy moving in. This isn’t really a desirable state of affairs because any disease present in the hive can get picked up by the new inhabitants, and I prefer newly-housed swarms to draw out new comb from the honey they carried with them when they left their original colony rather than feeding it to larvae and potentially passing on disease that way. Too late now though. I guess I will just be happy that I have another colony and I’ll try to move them onto fresh comb as soon as I can.