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Bees Again!


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Some of you may remember the episode we had with two large honey bee nests in our Belgian neighbour's property this time last year.

This morning I decided to carry out some overdue strimming of the scrubby area to the side of our property. Something made me look up at the side of our house.  Loads of bees buzzing round a shutter at 1st floor level.  This shutter serves no purpose - it merely 'covers' a blocked up window to what is now our bedroom.

I rang the apiculteur (he's coming tomorrow) and went back to my strimming. It seems though that they didn't like the noise and immediately started swarming.  Discretion being the better part, I ceased operations and left them to calm down!!  They did.

Never a dull moment. 

p.s. OH somewhat less than ecstatic over sleeping tonight with a few thousand of these guys no more than about 25cms from her head, albeit that there's brick & plaster between us and them.[blink]

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Last year we had a bee nest in between the plasterboard wall in one of our gites which wasn't very nice. This year we so far have two different lots nesting up under the roof of our main house and one under our on site laundry room! They are ok unless they start bothering people.
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A little update on the bee situation.

Monsieur Dupre turned up the other day in his totally-knackered, high-sided, 'white' (with numerous rust & crash marks) Transit-like van.  It's so noisy, it was surprising that the bees didn't beat a retreat.

Lovely man, shaped like a large rugby ball, with a gut formed from years of good living. Not a vegetarian!!

After 5 years, my understanding of French and particularly the local accent isn't bad, but I get barely half of what M. Dupre says. He said though that if we were happy, he'd leave it till the weekend because he needed some stageing to set up in order to mount "la ruche-eh" (the hive). He'll open up the shutter, drop the nest (with the queen) in to their new "maison" and leave them to settle for the day, returning in the evening to pick them up (when they've gone to bed).

I asked him if he minded me calling him out out like this again. "Pas du tout" - "they're pretty scarce this year, unlike 2009".

So, he said that he'd be back Sat / Sun-ish to drop the nest in to the hive, then returning with Mme Dupre (she always comes along in the evening & is even more unintelligible language-wise) to collect the hive.

Meanwhile, 5k - 10k bees are ensconsed about 25cms from our heads at night, happily separated by bricks & mortar!  They don't snore.

He didn't come today, but no surprise - this is the Midi.  He'll come when he's ready & he probably takes the view that there'll be more of the guys to gather up. Meanwhile they're quite active, but they go to bed early and don't get up till late in the morning.  Lazy ***s. [:)]    

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[quote user="Grumpy"]The probability is that what you saw was a swarm looking for a place to settle and that your noise decided them to move on!  Much as I love bees, a happy escape for you.

Grumpy
[/quote]

No Grumpy, I think that they'd been there for a week or more before I noticed them. They're very much settled & my noise just disturbed them a bit.

There are hectares of lavender within 200m of us, with established hives. I think that from time to time, a new queen shoves off and sets up a new colony somewhere else (Chrispp will have the definitive answer).

Before we came here, we'd have been *******g ourselves at the thought of what we've got so close. Now it doesn't phase us - they're as good as gold. 

Maybe a pic when M Dupre has done the biz.  Demaing-ish !       

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  • 1 month later...
[quote user="gardengirl "]

A pic of M. Dupré might be nice too, if he didn't mind - he sounds great!  [:D]

[/quote]

Now that I've got the hang of this Photobucket lark, I thought that I'd finish off the story.

[IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt15/gardian830/Bees0610005.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt15/gardian830/Bees0610008.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt15/gardian830/Bees0610009.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt15/gardian830/Bees0610014.jpg[/IMG]

Monsieur Dupre (the apiculteur) finally came round 3 wks ago. I'd had to chase him up to find out if he'd forgotten about us, but he assured me that it was just a question of his pal's availability (I think that he's new to the game and M Dupre wanted to show him the ropes).

Anyway, it was fascinating. As you can see, the nest was quite big (15k apparently).  He gave them a good dose of the puffer and shut the volet. Apparently, the Queen "goes in to ecstasy" and he shifts her and any others around in to the hive.

Then he literally takes slices off the honeycomb (with the bees all over it) and lays them carefully in to frames and then in to the hive. Once that's all done, he repositions the hive on the sill and leaves the whole lot there for a day or two. He came back two evenings later to pick them up.

Unfortunately, the Queen didn't seem to like her new maison, and she and her 15k lackeys parked themselves in a big ball in the same original position. M Dupre unceremoniously picked up the lot with his bare hands and bunged them in the hive. "Is she in there?", I asked. "Well if she's not, they'll have to find a new one", he said.  Off he went, rejoicing.

A couple of dozen were hanging around for a few days, but soon buzzed off.[:-))]

Less than 25% of the number of nests that he removed last year apparently.

 

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Thanks for that, Gardian. It was informative and fascinating, especially with the pictures. And "tout est bien qui finit bien!"

Someone I know (in the UK) who keeps bees himself, got assailed a short while ago, by his own bees, as he was strimming the hedge. Because of the noise, he never saw them arrive, and he was badly stung (he is OK now). It does seem that they get very unnerved by noisy machinery nearby, so you might have had a lucky escape earlier on!

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  • 10 months later...

Well, we're off again!

Our Belgian neighbour's house (which is a residence secondaire) has two nests in it again. They were behind the same sets of shutters two years ago (but separate occasions), and now they've returned. The venerable M. Dupre was sent for and he recce'd over the weekend and arrived this morning to remove them.

The large nest shown in the photo is "as big as they come" according to Dupre - about 45k he reckons. The 2nd one is smaller - just 15k apparently.

I asked him whether they were plentiful this year and he said that they were, but he's as happy as Larry to take them. Lovely man. I reckon that Mme Dupre has had him on a diet of salade composee, because he looks a lot slimmer this year!

The Belgians really must clean the window frame properly now, because there'll come a time when Dupre says that he can't help.  I've told them before, but they won't do it.  Anyway, fascinating stuff.

[IMG]http://i593.photobucket.com/albums/tt15/gardian830/Bees0511002.jpg[/IMG]

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  • 2 months later...
Similar to us - just retreived a nest as per your pic at someone's house. We had to cut down the honeycomb - there were five 'cells' and put it into the frames, now in our hive a few miles away from original site. These bees are weird though, we have given them a nice new hive and they still are trying to build their frames on the side of the hive, so we have to keep turning up and move the new cells back into an empty frame.

They are nice bees though - we can stand beside the hive with them coming & going without our bee gear on!
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