New neighbours

Today was the day we'd decided to bring the bees back from Liz's house near Devizes. Regular readers may remember that in late September we moved a colony from a garden quite near me to another site much further away. The old adage of moving bees no more than three feet, or at least three miles, applied. Since then they've been on Liz's patio getting used to the lovely hills around where she lives. But today it was time to have them back, and on a much chillier morning than last time, we headed over there to see the hive all closed up.

Now a little more experienced and with Liz's expert guidance, we strapped up the hive and moved it into the car, driving it back to the woods with only a few minor bumps. We had borrowed two lightweight scaffolding poles from the farm in order to try out one of Liz's ideas. The poles slid under the straps with no adjustment and up to sit just underneath the roof. The result resembled a sedan chair, with the hive replacing the cabin. With me at the front and Andrew at the back, we could slowly negotiate the thick vegetation and the soft, muddy floor of the wood without the bees feeling much in the way of vibrations or bumps. After a short while we were at the stand on which the hives sit, and the bees were in their new home.

Andrew did the honours, removing the tape from the entrance block, and twenty or so bees flew out, not even attacking, just fanning a little. We watched them for a few minutes, then left them. I'll check back in the middle of the week to see how the reoriention is going, but I've a feeling we've got another great colony in the woods. And hopefully since these are so closely-related to the neighbours, they'll get on well.