June 17, 2011



On Tuesday, this arrived in my inbox from Ajlr: 

To share the excitement, message below just received from our bee tutor. We’ll have our own bees in 48 hours! :) :) :)

Think of us on Thursday evening, driving around with a box full of bees…


I understand all went well at the weekend and . . . I’ve just looked at the nucleus and the queen is laying to the point that the little box is brim full of bees.

 So if you would like to come and collect it, it’s yours.  You will need to come late evening when they have stopped flying and we can seal the entrance and strap it closed for travelling. . . .

I suggest you take it to the apiary and put it where you are going to have the hive and let the bees get orientated for a couple of days.  Then at the weekend or early next week you can move it to one side, put the hive in its place and transfer the occupied frames over. . . .

I replied in suitably modest, restrained hellgoddess manner:

YAAAAAY.  Okay, I’m stoked.  :):):)

Do I get to mention it on the blog?  That Ajlr is driving around the east of England with a box full of bees????  :)

And she generously replied:

Yes, mention it by all means – lots of positive thoughts would be very welcome. :)

I won’t be back until about 8 on Thursday evening, but we’re going to go over then and pick the bees up, to move them straight to the apiary area  that evening. I think I’ll have to be suited up when we unblock the entrance in their new home though…I’m not sure they’ll be that happy after 15 minutes in a car.

Oooh, my bees, my bees. ::goes into nurture mode:: :) **

If you think of it (and have time) send me an email.  I’ve written it in my diary . . . but that still means I have to remember to look in my diary.  And Thursday is handbells AND Muddlehamptons, so I will be distracted.

This then came in while I was Muddlehamptoning:

Off to pick up and move our box full of bees in about 15 minutes. Keep your fingers crossed that they don’t try and break out of it while we’re all in the car together! :)

And when I got back to the mews*** I wrote: 

YAAAAAAAY.  Well, you *must* be back by now . . . I hope ALL WENT WELL.  :):):)

This then arrived with the subject line ‘A car with 5864 passengers’:

So, we picked up the nucleus box full of bees from out tutor’s home just now. She let us borrow a hive strap, so the lid was securely fastened for transit, and stuffed a good lump of foam rubber into the entrance hole of the nuc so no one could come out and start insisting on different driving techniques during the journey. And off we went, with our young colony of bees carefully wedged in the back of the car. I can’t say that was the most relaxing four miles we’ve ever driven, not with our ears constantly assessing the level of grumbling coming from the box. R drove as carefully as possible but small country roads are not noted for their level surfaces. When we got to their new home, I suited-up and put the box on its stand, removed the strap and then, from the back, leaned over and pulled out the plug from the entrance hole. A small and agitated cluster of bees immediately poured out of the entrance and looked around with an air of bewildered belligerence. However, there was no-one there for them to pick a fight with and when I tiptoed back 30 seconds later there were only 30 or so crawling over the front of the box, near the entrance. It was 21.45 by then, dusk, and chilly, and as I watched they all went back inside. 

On Sunday we will move the colony into their full-sized brood box, on the same spot where they are now in their nuc box. It looks like being a fun morning!

I’m sure these are going to be the most wonderful bees in the history of beekeeping. I’m not sure how long it will take us to learn all their names though…

If any of this is useful for the blog, it’s all yours. :)


I’m glad to know you aren’t driving frantically for the Channel with 5864 angry bees in hot pursuit.  :)

I’m quite glad we aren’t heading for the Channel, too. :)

. . . But by that time last night I was already most of the way through a blog entry about handbells and singing.  Today I emailed: 

I think it is VERY NOBLE of you not to have mentioned your bees on the forum.  All this goes in TONIGHT.†† 

I haven’t mentioned it at all, thinking you might want to use it. And yes, I’m EXTREMELY noble, it’s almost unbearable. I’ll even add to it and offer to write ‘Steps to bee-keeping IV’ in about a month’s time, if you wish. Now, where’s my halo gone…:)

The rain is coming down stair rods here at the moment. My poor bees will be sitting in the entrance to their box, looking out gloomily at all the wet and probably squabbling with each other. And the queen will be humming ‘now children, children, settle down’. (Anthropomorphise? Moi?) †††


Yes, I’ve been thinking of your poor bees sitting in their new home and wondering drearily why they’ve been horribly magicked to this watery place.  Stair rods here too.  At least cranky hellhounds don’t sting.  :)

Must go to bell practice.  NIALL’S HOME!!!  I’M NOT IN CHARGE!!!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!! 

 * * *

* And yes, I did ask her first. 

** Aside: note that I am totally on board with the nurture thing.  Oisin keeps telling me that I must apply for the bat-exclusion license whether I use it or not—that it’s sensible to be prepared.  Noooooo, I keep saying, my bats, my bats!  He says, look, I know you’re a pathetic wet knee-jerk liberal.  Get the frelling exclusion anyway while you have a sympathetic Bat Lady.   She could move to Canada^ and her replacement could decide that you are superfluous to bat requirements. 

^ I’m sure there are lots of splendid bats in Canada

 *** And had fed the hellhounds.  And begun a blog post.  First things first. 

† Hmmmmmmm.  Maybe we should have a bee-naming contest???  Hmmmmmmmm.^ 

^ As a happy, well-named bee might say. 

†† I might even conceivably get another paragraph of PEG II written/bent/tied to the chair/negotiated for better terms with^ tonight.  Or maybe I’ll ring some Cambridge on Pooka.  I might even try to get the fragment of a song I wrote while I was waiting for Oisin to get back from looking at electric organs for other people onto Finale.  It looks more singable than my stuff usually is.  I wonder how that happened.

            Or I could knit. ^^

            The possibilities are dazzling.  

^ I keep telling you we can’t grow llyri grass in this world.

^^ We are not discussing Sewing Up Secret Project #1.

††† Some of you may remember it was Ajlr who helped name my bats.  Eadgyth is her fault.

 ‡ Okay, all you blog readers.   Sign on the forum and leave an EAGER COMMENT about more bee-keeping posts.


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