Monday, 3 June 2013

Teddy's Birthday and Surviving a Swarm of Bees

Teddy is four today so I thought he deserved a special birthday blog post to celebrate. This is in addition to his birthday sausage which he is having as a treat for tea. He came to us as a ten week old puppy from a rescue centre in Swindon four years ago and we have all loved him utterly ever since. I can't imagine life here without him, he is the best natured dog in the world and we all adore him.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEDDY!!!


Then as a ten week old pup on his first day with us....


....and now, our much-loved boy


The other interesting thing of merit that happened today occurred just a few minutes ago. Against my better judgement I have let the chickens up in the top garden where the pond, and more to the point, all my freshly purchased and carefully planted and tended wild flowers, are. Hens and new flowers don't generally make good bed-fellows, so I was anxiously watching the girls perambulations and pecking peccadilloes when this incredible buzzing kicked off over the fence on my left. I looked up and the sky suddenly went black with bees.

A swarm is something to behold. I've seen a few over the years and once even managed to cycle through the middle of one. I had quite a few bees stuck to me as I came out the other side but one by one they all flew off and I didn't get stung. I always think a swarm is a being all of its own, it moves like one vast and slightly wobbly-round-the-edges animal. This one today made a giant and furious-sounding cloud that bowled through the sky at a surprisingly a rapid pace. The men who work next door (all quite gruff masculine types), instantly dived for cover with much yelling and swearing, which I found rather amusing, especially given that I (rather stoically and impressively I thought) remained where I was, on hen duty, shooing my girls off my flowers, and praying the bees wouldn't envelope me.

They didn't. 

In the event they moved off over the fence at the back of the garden and disappeared into the abandoned vineyard. The whole thing lasted only a few intensely exciting seconds and it wasn't long before the next-door-men reappeared laughing nervously before trying to out-do one another with tales of bravery and daring-do. I allowed myself a wry grin at this, given that they'd all screamed like girls and scarpered the second the bees appeared.

Never a dull moment here...

Here's a good picture of a swarm to give you some idea what it was like. Sadly I didn't have my camera with me but this is more or less what the sky above me looked like for a few seconds. Hopefully Wendy from Blue Borage (ace bee keeper) will be along at some point to give me her view on it.....

16 comments:

  1. Firstly Happy Birthday Teddy, and secondly wow for the swarm of bees. I have never encountered one, I'm glad to say. I have been stung once or twice when I was young and it's not as bad as people think, so now I'm not afraid, I don't make a fuss when they are around and have never been stung again. However I think I would have run for cover, screaming..!

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    1. My experience with bees is usually positive so I tend not to worry about them. I don't fuss them either which is perhaps why I've always had positive experiences, but I suppose there is always a first time... :-)

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  2. Bees are wonderful beings - I love them even tho allergic and carry an epi pen with me at all times. I think they swarm because they are looking for a new hive with a new Queen Bee whom they are swarming around to protect. At least I was told this be a bee keeper who came to our property once a long time ago to remove the swarm and take it to a hive he had waiting. The bees were clumped on a low tree branch and was larger than a foot ball.

    Last but not least - Happy Birthday to adorable Teddy!!

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    1. Hi Stone Angel and thanks for your comment. Crickey- that must add a certain dimension to being around bees when you have an allergy! Interesting about the Queen bee, perhaps that's what had happened here today. CT :-)

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  3. Scary swarm and HAPPY BIRTHDAY indeed!

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    1. Thanks Em :-) I'm wondering what tomorrow is going to being - elephants in the garden perhaps?!

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  4. As you guessed, I'm fascinated that you saw a swarm like this! It is the swarming season; a strong colony of honeybees will often look to reproduce and many of the bees from that colony will leave with the old queen to find a new home. I'm amused to read that you remained calm and the "blokes" panicked! Swarms are generally good tempered; the bees have gorged on honey before they leave the hive and the weather is good. Only occasionally can they be nasty tempered e.g. if they're hungry but it is important to always remain calm around them. Hopefully a beekeeper will put on his suit and come and collect them for a good home.
    And Happy Birthday to gorgeous Teddy!

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    1. Ah that's really interesting- I'd hoped you'd read this and let me know what was going on. What happens to the colony that's been left without a Queen? I'm thinking I should go into the vineyard and see if I can find them, but presumably they'd manage ok living as wild bees?

      Teddy says thank you very much for all the birthday good wishes, and he enjoyed his roast potato in lieu of a sausage :-)

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    2. The colony left behind will make a new queen and hopefully she'll mate successfully and lay eggs for their future. The bees may survive as wild bees, but humans have had such a poor impact on their environment that they often don't (many get destroyed by wasps). It would be fun to track them down, but please stay safe around them. I wouldn't get close without a suit.
      NB thanks for your kind comment about me being an ace beekeeper. I wish I was!

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    3. They are so clever. I'm filled with admiration for them. I'll have a (careful) look for them in the vineyard tomorrow :-)

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  5. Hi CT, Very many belated Happy Birthday wishes to lovely Teddy. I hope he enjoyed a wonderful day with you all. Great photos, he looked very 'cool' in the last one :-)

    I started to write this last night and then realised how ridiculously late it was after writing a lengthy comment on RR's post about the cull which I see you spotted :-)

    You do have some adventures, and all without even leaving home, what next I wonder...Badgers maybe...I know they'd be safe with you ;-) You were very brave with the swarm! We had one on a bush by our shed a few years ago and a local beekeeper very kindly removed it free of charge and even returned a while later with a pot of honey for us. I have a friend who has a very severe phobia of bees and wasps which really limits her enjoyment of her garden in the summer, such a shame as she is a very confident and successful person in every other aspect of her life. I really thought when she was stung by a bee and conceded it was no big deal a couple of years ago that it would cure the problem but no, still just the same!

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    1. Homemade honey- how lovely. Your poor friend that must be hard. Phobias defy explanation don't they? I have one for spiders, even though I know they pose me no threat at all and I would never harm them, they scare me rigid. Ridiculous, but it's lodged in my unconscious! CT x

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  6. Daisy wishes Teddy a very happy Birthday and she hopes he enjoyed his birthday sausage. We only got Daisy when she was 5 years old (she is now 11) and it would have been wonderful to have had her as a puppy. I love all the pictures of Teddy.
    I have never seen a bee swarm it must be an amazing sight!
    Sarah x

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    1. I haven't looked at his puppy pictures for a while- I'd forgotten just how small he was! Please thank Daisy for her good wishes, and Ted said to tell her he had a birthday roast potato instead which he very much enjoyed! CT x

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  7. I am hopelessly behind with blog reading, so a belated very happy birthday to Teddy! He is cute now, but oh so sweet as a pup!

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    1. Thank you :-) Yes, adorable as a pup and still adorable now, though in a less small and fluffy way!

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x