A Swarm in June is Worth a Silver Spoon

While Phil was at the Scythe Festival, a swarm moved into the bait hive we have on top of the red barn. So on his return he took the bees down to his out apiary in the village then put the bait hive back on the barn, complete with a box of natural comb saved from one of our other Warré hives.

A Warre box full of natural comb....

A Warre box full of natural comb….

....being added to a bait hive

….being added to a bait hive

The comb proved irresistible to the bees. Phil noticed a lot scout activity earlier in the day, then the bees duly arrived…..

A swarm has arrived

A swarm has arrived

The bees steadily walked into the hive

The bees steadily walked into the hive

After dusk the top box will be taken down from the barn, complete with the swarm inside, and set up in a permanent position elsewhere on the farm. Then the bait hive will be replenished with a fresh box and we will see if we can catch swarm number three.

For those not familiar with it, the title refers to the bee keepers saying:

A swarm in May is worth a load of hay,
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon,
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly

This reflects the value of an early swarm, which will have the whole summer to establish and so has a good chance of building up enough strength to survive the winter. I love how hay is the most valuable commodity!

For lots more information on Warré beekeeping, see David Heaf’s informative site.

3 thoughts on “A Swarm in June is Worth a Silver Spoon

  1. I have noticed more swarms this year than usual. I have had three in my trees and one has taken up residency under the slates of my roof . They are totally inaccessible to me but the bedroom smells wonderfully of beeswax and honey! My oak tree is discharging a very sticky, sappy substance at the moment and it is full of bees day and night – the humming noise is very noticeable.

    1. It is amazing how loud the bees can be when busy. We have a lot poached egg plants in a garden bed. The bees love it and it positively hums when the sun is shining.

      And have you heard of a hummadruz?
      “A mysterious buzzing or humming sound, without a discernible point of origin, occasionally heard in rural areas.”

      I think we heard something that could be described as a hummadruz one summer, in an unusual large bowl shaped dune formation on the island of Herm. The sound of the bees working the flowers was reflected and amplified around the shape to produce a curious, non-directional hum.

      1. Hummadruz – what an apt name for it. The bees are still there today – the note and intensity are constant. I must find out exactly what the oak tree is giving off to keep them so busy. I wonder if they are gathering propolis?

Comments are closed.