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The coming of the bees

Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages: The coming of the bees

Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages

Beautiful stone cottages near Oban and on the Isle of Mull

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Location: Taynuilt, Argyll, United Kingdom

Monday, 21 June 2010

The coming of the bees

Midsummer night - it really doesn't get properly dark here for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after.

I've had a complex few traveling days to go to London for work, then pop over to Holland for a few days and travel up by train from London yesterday while picking up 2 new hives of bees.  Yes, that's right, not just the hives, but the bees in them, all 5,000 or so in each (at about 3p/bee!).  These are the boxes that they came in, and they had to be picked up from near Lincoln.  Combining it with other travel arrangements was the only worthwhile way of doing it.

I got off at Newark and had booked a taxi from there to Thorne's at Wragby to pick up the bees while the taxi waited and took me back.  The bees went in the guard's van, and he gave me access whenever I wanted it to spray the bees with water to ensure they'd keep cool (but they're not to be kept in a draught either).  I was very fortunate that the guard allowed me to sit in first class too, as the train was really full, and standard class was miles away from the guard's van.

I struggled to keep them out of sun in my car as I had no parcel shelf.  So I improvised with the tools I had, a child's car seat, an umbrella and a jumper.  They buzzed back the whole way home from Stirling where I'd left my car.

When I got home we unloaded the box, put them into position at the other end of the loch, then released their door and let them orientate.  Once the sun was out today I moved them into their permanent home, the bigger boxes, that hold 11 frames (the traveling boxes only hold 6 frames), and gave them a sugar syrup feed to settle them in.  That's it now for the next week, when I'll open them up again and have a wee look at how they are faring.

I had a look around the garden to see what flowers they were on, and passing the Hydrangea climbing up the huge larch tree, it was buzzing just like the bees had been in the box.  There were lots of bumblebees, but I also spotted quite a few honeybees.  As I haven't seen any honeybees in our garden for a long time, I'm assuming they're the new ones, so I took some pictures of both.
The Hydrangea is really at its best just now, but it's just not possible to capture the enormity of the tree and the Hydrangea.  I've just got half of it in my photo.

We're hoping the bees will do better now that we've learnt more, as our other bees didn't survive the winter of 2008/2009.

As we are enjoying our chickens so much, we have decided to order another 3, as their night time shelter is meant for up to 9 birds.  This time we've ordered different breeds, and they're due the middle of July.  The kids have sold quite a lot of our eggs this week, by just putting them with an honesty box in reception.  They're saving up for an automated door on the chicken hutch that opens when it gets light and closes once they're in and its dark.

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