Yesterday night, to my surprise, we spotted on a facebook group a call for a swarm of honeybees to be collected in Bristol. It is not the first occurence of such a (very) late swarm.
The swarming season is from May to July ... it is the period of time when the colonies are naturally splitting, so they can reproduce.
Out of that period of time, they can still swarm but it would be following an event disturbing the hive in the vast majority of cases.
In the last 2 weeks, we have been called for 2 swarms. I also saw several reports on various social networks....
So what is wrong??? The honeybees should not have a swarming behaviour one week before the autumn, as every single swarm now would be at risk of not surviving the winter!
So, we do what we can... and what we should do. Re-homing and taking care of them despite the fact that a lot of beekeepers will actually ignore these late swarms, arguing that "they will not pass the winter anyway". But let's give them a chance!
21:30. 13th Sept 2020. I drove to the location of the swarm which was in a tricky situation. All bees were cold, scattered on the pavement. At the mercy of any events, I even had to prevent a dog owner walking his pet to step on it.
Talking to the landlady who reported the swarm, she then told me that she tried to have the local beekeeper to come and have a look since earlier in that afternoon, knowing that he lives two streets away. His answer was that he was not interested(!!!).
With a lot of patience I found the Queen, placed her safely in the skep and the very cold and lethargic colony followed, with some help.
The colony is now safely re-homed in our apiary in Burton.
Bee good! Chris