North Herts news by Graham Beesley

If a swarm in July ain’t worth a fly, what’s a swarm in August worth?

This thought occurred to me when I had a call from an interested member of the public  at 8.00 pm on the 10th of August to tell me that a swarm he’d seen the previous Friday was still hanging in a tree  in spite the weather having been good over the weekend. The other thought that occurred to me as I stood at the top of a 10 foot step ladder, in the gathering dark with a gentle rain beginning to fall and extremely stroppy bees stinging my arms was, that I might be getting a little old for this lark.

In July when the two Peter’s, Fogle and Heath, visited our association site at Standalone Farm we had agreed, with some relief, that swarming must be nearly over for the year. Since then I’ve been and collected another three swarms.

 I enjoy collecting swarms. I find people are fascinated by bees, it’s a great opportunity to do some PR and build up ones stocks. And when it goes right one feels like a magician performing a conjuring trick as they march into your box.

Our thanks to Peter and Peter for a competent inspection and to Janet Kirtland and David Mathews for being such wonderful hosts, providing such a lovely tea and letting us inspect their hives. It was one of those afternoons that you would have liked to have gone on for ever.

I find it very reassuring to get the thumbs up from our seasonal bee inspectors who seem to me to be very good value for money.

On the subject of apiaries we have been fortunate to have been given two new sites for association members to use. Letchworth Heritage Foundation, owners of our association sites at Standalone and Nortonbury, has given a site in Willian for our use and Wyvale Garden Centre in Stevenage have given permission for us to keep bees there. The latter was as a result of Derek Richardson, John Hill and Frank Everest giving of their time to man, (person?), a stand at Wyvale on the longest day of the year. I hear it felt like it too. This was part of a national environmental awareness day for Wyvale. John even got his photo in the paper, though unfortunately as a bumblebee expert.

Anyone who is interested in keeping their bees on either of these sites please give either Christine or me a call.

The honey is harvested, the Apiguard is on, only feeding to do and then we can enjoy a well deserved rest. Our first meeting of the Autumn/winter is the third Tuesday of the month, the 20th October. Any suggestions from members for our itinerary  through the winter would be most welcome.

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