We had gone out on various errands, one of them picking up the makings of another hive to transfer our primary cast of a month ago from its probably overcrowded digs in the nuc to a more spacious des res (we do not want a third hive, we do not want a third hive….). Happy that we would now have the ability to combine hives towards the end of the summer, we pulled into the drive and opened the gate to the back garden.
Meanwhile, a little over a month ago, a housing meeting had just started
“Now, I have called this meeting to discuss the current overcrowding in this place and what we are going to do about it.”
“Well, we’ve already started on a solution,” said one bee, looking around to make sure she wasn’t overheard by anyone not at the meeting (namely anyone of regal bearing). “I mean queen cells,” she said in a loud whisper.
“Woa, there, hold your horses, before all hell breaks loose with a bunch of queens flying about, we got to have a plan of where we are going to go,” said the chair, one of the bossier bees.
“I thought that was our job?” whined a scout bee sitting among her colleagues.
“Yes, but the past few years, you guys have settled us so high up that those lazy, non-flying bipeds can’t be bothered to get us and find us some of those luxurious new-builds we’ve been hearing about. We’ve heard rumors of bees ending up in stuffy chimneys and then set alight…” Everyone bowed their antennae out of respect for fallen comrades. “This year, we gotta make it easier for them. Now, if you all take a copy of these locations, and you scouts, see if you can get us there, we should be basking on the landing board of a one down, the-sky’s-the- limit up in the matter of a month!”
The meeting ends in a buzz of excitement.
We were considerably deflated by the sight and sound that welcomed us home. Up in the holly tree between the conservatory and the garage, was the tell-tale noisy clump. We looked at each other, and I said, “uh uh, no way, they are on their own this time, they are too high anyway.” My husband replied “Well, they are not that high really, I could probably get them with the tall loppers. Mind, it will be a pretty big ker-plop when the branch falls into the box.” And we both knew who would be holding the box.
“No, no way. Anyway, we don’t have any more cardboard boxes left. And what are we going to do with them? WE ARE NOT HAVING A FOURTH HIVE!”
Upon which proclamation, we retreated into the conservatory.
Meanwhile, back in the holly tree…
“Abort, Abort! They are not going for it! Where are those scouts? I thought I told you some place easy?”
“This is as easy as can be! All they had to do was come out the back door and chop off a branch. You heard the tall, lazy one. He’s not the problem, it’s the short, lazy one!”
“Can I suggest something?” said the very young queen….
Meanwhile, back in the conservatory….
In the middle of consoling ourselves with some subs while watching the bees, I noticed something odd. “Is it my imagination or does it seem like that clump in the holly tree is beginning to move down to the fern at the bottom of the holly tree, in other words they are now on the ground?” Sure enough, they were starting to clump around a branch of one of the ferns.
“Well, er, we really should catch them, it would seem impolite not to…” my husband said.
“OK! BUT WE ARE NOT HAVING A FOURTH HIVE!” I said.
Meanwhile, back at the fern,,,,
“Look, they are going for it! They got a box!”
“OK, but just in case they get put off at the last moment, let’s make it a bit easier….”
Meanwhile, back at the conservatory….
We suited up, found a box ( I was wrong. We never do not have at least one empty cardboard box). We looked down at the fern. “It seems like they are on the ground, leading up into the fern. What if we just lay the box on its side and see if they just walk in instead of cutting up the fern?”
“Sounds good to me. We got to get these other bees into this brood box, so let’s do that, make the transfer and then come back to see what they have done.”
And that’s what we did.
Meanwhile, back at the box and fern….
“Wow, I didn’t know you could do that.”
“Listen, I have spent a long time observing them. You see all these birds? It all started off with one who groomed them. It’s not rocket science. I mean, they don’t even fly!”
“This is much easier then being plunked into a box, Now we can just walk in as and when….”
And that’s what they did.
“Hey, smart aleck! Why are we still in this manky box? What happened to the palace you said we would get if we made everything easy for them?”
“Give them some time. Usually they get us a new home pretty quickly. Fly around, smell the flowers. Visit the fern. Remember the fern?”
“Are you kidding? Those bees back at the old place are rolling on the hive floor laughing (rohfl) at us! We’re living in a box! There’s nothing to grip onto man, I’m blowing this joint!”
“Hey, wait you guys, GUYS WAIT!”
Meanwhile, back in the conservatory….
“Um, can you come take a look at the box? Something’s not quite right…”
We go over to where we had placed the box in the morning. We could hear the wind blowing the tumbleweeds from way off. We opened the top. Nothing. We looked at the garage bees who had produced this third swarm. They were looking busy, but not so busy as to have had a re-intake. Could the swarm have unswarmed? Could they have gone off to a new place? Were they even our bees?
I went to call the nice lady with the empty hive who was waiting for her delivery of bees the next morning.
And now we wait….