Queen visits Rye garden


We were enjoying a quiet Friday morning in our garden in the centre of Rye when we were interrupted by a swarm of bees. It settled on a standard rose, producing a thick tree trunk of bees around its slender stem. The old queen had departed from a local hive with a retinue of workers. Rye’s veterinary practice gave us the number of Cathy Pope.

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She came up with a bee box, scooping and brushing the increasingly irritated bees in through the top. She then left to let the rest of the bees find their own way in. The following morning there was still a large cluster on the rose stake. Cathy returned and told us the queen must still be outside. Pulling the stake out, with the cluster of bees on it, she tapped it over the top of the box and the whole clump dropped neatly in. A lot remained clustered on the ground, but Cathy built a little wooden bridge to encourage them in. Noting several bees fanning by the entrance to the box, she presumed that this time the queen was inside. Over the course of the afternoon a steady procession of bees went in. It was like Oxford Circus tube in the rush hour! By dusk all was quiet, there were no bees to be seen, and we shut the box door. norman house bee visitation 004

The following morning Cathy came to pick up her box. Certainly the bees were in there. It was like listening to the rustling of leaves in the wind, or the running water of a little stream. They are now off to be re-hived.

Cathy is a fount of information and we learned a lot about bee behaviour, and hopefully this colony has been saved for another summer of honey-making. She is happy to collect any settled swarms in the Rye area. Cathy’s number is 07588 749319, or you can email her on cathypopedesigns@gmail.com. Have a look at the photos on her Facebook page


Photo: Andrew Bamji

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