Saturday, 30 July 2011

A Swarm of Bees!

A swarm of bees in May
is worth a load of hay.
A swarm of bees in June
is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm of bees in July
isn't worth a fly!

Well this one came in July - in fact almost in August - so too bad.

This morning - a bright sunny Summer's morning, as good as any we have had this year - saw me with a group of friends sitting in a friend's conservatory drinking coffee and having a pleasant chat. Just the most civilised sort of morning I think.

The friend's conservatory looks out up onto her fields which are part of her property. It so happens that this morning the farmer is haymaking in her fields for her so we are watching that too. Can you imagine the lovely Summer scene?

Suddenly her neighbour, Tom, appears to say that he has a swarm at one of his hives in the very field where the farmer is haymaking. We are all quite excited but have no desire to get any closer to the action. But I do persuade him, before he dons his bee-kddping gear, to take a picture for my blog. I bribe him with a mention and tell him he will be the most admired man in the village (in fact I am too scared to go and photograph it for myself), so off he goes and returns with this photograph.

So there you have it - a lovely warm Summer's day, the smell of haymaking in the air, a group of friends, a pot of coffee and some rather good honey flapjack, an airy conservastory with a good view and a swarm of bees. What could epitomise an English Summer more than that?

And, apparently, the only thing that makes the swarm not worth much in July is that there will be little time left for the bees to make honey this year. So they had better get out on that heather on the moor as quickly as they can. Oh, and by the way, thanks Tom!


Heather said...

I have often wondered about that little rhyme Pat - I would think that a swarm of bees at any time of year would be a good thing. A few years ago a swarm flew right over my head - I heard the buzzing getting louder but couldn't work out where it was coming from. I'm glad they didn't stop to chat! What an exciting morning you all had. Thankyou Tom and I hope the farmer got his hay made.

Bovey Belle said...

We had a swarm fly over our house a couple of Saturdays ago. Heck, they made a noise. They carried onwards so I don't know where they settled.

On two occasions in the past they took refuge in our bedroom chimney! We put the radio in there to try and make them shift - Radio 4 didn't bother them but Radio 1 did the trick!!

Someone has since said they were perhaps just taking shelter in there as it was cool. Whatever - I'm glad that they didn't stay.

angryparsnip said...

Yes, what could epitomize an English Summer more that that. I so agree !
I have never heard that rhyme before but I love it.

This year I have see very few bee
and I am worried.
I always had lots of bees especially in my rosemary bushes but this year none.
Because we had that super hard freeze and no winter rains equal no spring blooms.
I hope the bees are ok somewhere new.
Even though I am allergic to bees stings, the bees that where at my home were so nice I never worried, They were always too busy.
I miss them.

cheers, parsnip

Pondside said...

You painted a charming picture, for sure!
We are encouraged by the number of bees we've seen this year. There is a dearth all over, and last year we had a very disappointing apple crop. This year we have pears (none at all last year) apples and plums, so perhaps the bees are truly returning.

Leilani Lee said...

A most amazing and fascinating story was broadcast in May on bees and how they choose a new home (

Jinksy said...

But we might have an Indian Summer and keep those bees busy for weeks...

steven said...

good job tom! i've never seen a swarm of bees myself but i think i'd exercise the same sort of caution as you weaver! a bee got inside my bike helmet the other day and laid a really good sting right on top where's there no meat. it felt like i imagine it would if someone had butted out a cigarette on my scalp!! steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

I suppose Steven's adventure with the bee is a perfect example of a bee in one's bonnet. Sorry Steven - I am sure it hurt - there isn't a lot of spare flesh there which always makes it worse.

Apparently the rhyme means that a swarm in July will have no time at all to make honey which means that they will not survive the winter unless they are fed sugar solution.

Thanks for the comments.

Granny Sue said...

I hope the swarm makes it--maybe Tom could give them some honey from one of his other hives? It's really late, but if they're fed and he has some combs from his other bees he could spare, they might survive.

This has certainly been a bad year. Wet, wet and cold here in the spring, then it turned extremely hot and very dry. The gardens are struggling, and I just want summer to be over.