Quail diary – 103. Silly bees
Bantam Neighbour’s bees have swarmed. There’s a deafening buzz in late afternoon and beyond the fence a twister rises up, a whirling vortex of tiny bodies and beating wings. It is all over in ten minutes. They don’t go far, just into an overhanging lime tree. But 12 hours and a thunderstorm later there they still are, a gently heaving brown poultice along a forked branch – 50ft up. Now what?
Bantam Neighbour, contacted by phone, is incredulous. ”I only split them two days ago… are you sure they’re mine?” She’s also slightly miffed to miss all the fun, again. However, there’s 40,000 bees on the loose and Mrs Nextdoor’s having conniptions, so er, will I just be a doll and pop round? With something large and white to lure them back down? There’s an empty hive handy, leaking honey by the compost bin, go and make a landing strip. Empty frames under the stairs. Crown board in the shed …
A what board? Where are the bee buddies when you need them? Gingerly, I zip myself into the pastel bee suit and stomp off trailing an old bedspread to see what can be done. I’ve never flown solo before.
In Bantam Neighbour’s garden all is quiet. The dog fawns, the hens jostle at the gate, the tortoise sneaks into the house for a wee the moment my back’s turned and the bees from the remaining hive pile out enthusiastically to promenade up and down the gleaming white sheet even before I’ve finished spreading it – but the swarm high overhead stays put.
And now we wait. This could take days. There is no plan B.