© 2014 East Devon Beekeepers
A Branch of the Devon
UK Registered Charity No. 270675
Queen marking colour for 2017 - YELLOW
Joint meeting with West Dorset BKA, March 2014. Chris Park demonstrating skep making and talking about keeping bees in skeps successfully.
All these fruits, vegetables & flowers need bees
Some of the exhibits.
Honey, plus cosmetics from hive products for sale.
Display showing pollen under the microscope.
Demonstration of skep making.
Display with honey settling tank and creamer.
Display with observation & photo hives.
Barbara demonstrating the photo hive.
Display of enlarged photos of pollen grains.
This colony had been established in a Camellia bush for at least 2 months in a front garden in Sidmouth and was becoming a bit of a nuisance.
At 19” tall and 13” in diameter it was too big to fit into a skep. There were 9 combs in total with at least 5 containing brood, the whole lot hanging from a tangle of Camellia and Clematis stems.
We decided to remove the nest in one piece in the evening with as little disturbance as possible as it was near the foot path on a main road.
Starting at the bottom the stems were cut away.
As the stems were cut the bin was raised to contain the bees and take the weight of the nest. They were surprisingly well behaved considering the intrusion. We didn’t need smoke at this stage.
Finally, as the last stem was severed the colony gently rested in the bin. The weight took us by surprise. The bees had been busy storing honey.
Now the colony could be carefully lifted clear of the Camellia with very few disturbed bees.
Although this looks a bit of a mess a combination of brace comb and twigs embedded in the wax ensured the nest did not collapse. A lid was taped to the bin leaving a gap on one side and the bees were soon fanning at the entrance.
The majority of bees found their way in quite quickly but some insisted on returning to the nest site.
So the remains of the comb (see inset) were scraped off, the residual bees smoked to clear the branches, and the branches smeared with almond flavouring to ensure the bees did not re-settle.
When the bees had nearly all returned to the nest we taped a piece of gauze over the tub and took it away, much to the relief of the house owners.
A temporary resting place for the colony, providing a lot more protection from the elements than the Camellia bush!
After 24 hours there were only 2 or 3 bees at the original site so the removal technique appears to have been successful.
If you have a photo of an unusual swarm situation and would like to share it, please send an email to:
Click the arrow to start a slide show of the photos we have received so far.
A large swarm
Even larger swarm.
Very small swarm! Very early in the year, too. 15th March.
Swarm in a service hole underground.
A small swarm stayed on this branch for 3 weeks.