Birkett House and Bees

It has been a good year for the bees at the allotment. There are 5 hives, of various designs, 2 of which have been relocated from Judge Meadows school in Leicester for convenience as the school was shut. These have all been managed by Chris, the chairman, who also had to rescue a swarm from further down Glebe Drive at the beginning of the summer.

Moving on, it was arranged that Birkett House seniors would have a morning learning about the allotment bees from Chris. So, on a cool 30 June two of them donned suits and prepared to look in a bee hive and learn about the bees. Little did we know at the time that some of the bees were beginning to swarm. A frenetic flying display round the hedge by the orchard indicated that they were swarming, and sure enough they did. Into the hedge.

Bees swarming in the hedge

So as an added bonus the boys got to see a swarm being collected in a ‘skep’, to be then recovered to one of the hives once all the bees had realised where the queen was. To get the swarm together certain bees raise their tails giving off a pheromone, and wafting their wings disperses the pheromone so that the others bees know where the queen is.

The swarm being collected in a ‘skep’
The swarm being collected in a ‘skep’

While they waited for the bees to collect in the skep the boys were then treated to looking in a hive.

Looking inside of a hive
Looking inside of a hive

This started off fine until the bees started to get a little agitated. It was then that photographer and Birkett House teachers, already stood at a distance, had to beat a hasty retreat to much further away. Injuries were sustained.

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