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Jamie Llewelyn takes a swarm with a twist…

I had an unexpected call from a farmer friend this morning and went down to look at a tree that was recently cut down in one of his fields in Congresbury. There was a complete colony open to the elements looking very sorry for themselves.

I managed to transfer them into new lodgings and they look to be getting on with making up their new home. I took some video of the doings (will process vid as is in different formats.. camera and phone) and some photos (attached).

The colony went quite deep into the tree and luckily i had access to a friends Sthil Chainsaw. Found the queen hiding right at the back of the beespace beautiful orange abdomen with a black tip caught her and put her in a cage in the hive. Managed to frame up the brood without chilling too much (i hope) and loads of stores.

The whole process took about two hours and would have been quicker if I had managed to source some elastic bands (very scarce commodity if you have an evening and an early morning to hunt for!). String and elasticated glove cuffs worked well though.

The colony wasn’t huge but it had some good stores. Most of the comb was packed with honey. Very little pollen and almost no brood. I think that the cold exposure had chilled this and the Queen was hiding deep in the back of the hive in a bundle of bees.

When the comb was removed I shifted the bees around with my glove to look for the queen and she was found pretty quickly as she was a nice orange colour.

No signs of Varroa to the eye so I am hoping that they will get through the winter.

I am feeding with a load of 2:1 syrup with Hive Alive formula and also with Neopol just to give them everything they could need to get the queen laying again. I will check them in a week for signs of brood and may give them a frame of brood from another strong hive to try to keep them strong.

They have a great temperament and I hope they last through the winter!

Jamie Llewelyn

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