Harvesting Wild Bees.

26th September 2012: The rain stopped for long enough to enable Brenda and David to remove the honey bees and their nest from the hawthorn tree, and to place them in a covered wooden container specially made for a situation such as this. In the box went the bees, their nest and a section of the branch it was attached to.

The bees were very good; they didn’t sting me or David. Brenda, protected by her bee suit and a pair of Marigold washing-up gloves, removed the nest from the tree with the aid of a pair of loppers and David, who was not wearing a bee suit.

I didn’t keep track of the time, but it must have taken close to an hour to finish the job. It took quite a while for Brenda to gather the bees that couldn’t grasp that the majority of their compatriots, the queen and the three honey combs were now in a box on the ground and no longer hanging from a tree branch. By the time the job was finished most of the bees were safely in the box. Remarkably, very few bees were left behind.

Brenda will introduce the bees to a hive tomorrow. I’m not sure how she does this, but I know it is not as simple as just tipping them into the hive and letting them get on with it.

The wild honey bees and their nest were removed from the hawthorn tree in order to help them survive the winter, at a time when bees are in short supply as a result of verroa mite infestations.

This might be the end of this bee story, but I am thinking about finding a suitable location on the marsh for a couple of bee hives.

Brenda and David deciding on the best way of getting the bees and nest into the box.

Brenda carrying the bees and the nest to the box.

In the box they go.

Gathering the remaining bees.

All safely in the box.

18 Comments on “Harvesting Wild Bees.

  1. I do hope you have a chance to post a follow up article. I’d love to know how the transfer goes and whether they manage ok in the new hive.


    • Ok, Jame, I will do a follow up. I was asked last night if I wanted to see the bees being transfer to the new hive, and I turned the offer down. I am regretting my haste now. I will have to make a phone call. Thanks.


    • The bees are being transferred to a hive, because the nest was in a very exposed place, within paw range of badgers and foxes. Cattle will be grazing the area soon. I felt they were unlikely to survive the winter. Also, they are very calm bees and worth saving.


  2. This reminds me of my old bee guru. I have seen him several times get into his old little station wagon where he has deposited the swarm in an open box on the back seat. Then he gets in with them and drives home the bees buzzing around his head. Through the whole operation he is dressed in nothing but shorts. The operation is always exciting and I like your photo essay a lot.


      • He was a small man and one could think somewhat related to bees. I did not very often get dressed up for my own bees but I never ever saw this guy in protective clothing. Lack of clothes of course keeps bees from getting lost in them and for the odd sting a little flick of the finger… There are of course nasty bees but I never ran into any of those. And I’m sure old man M. would have recognized them and acted accordingly. I reckon he knew everything beewise.


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