A swarm at Foxglove

Thursday, June 11th 2009

What a day at Foxglove today! We started the day with the moth trap. After we had over 70 last week there were high hopes for today, but alas, there were only 6 moths in the trap. These did include another Ruddy Highflyer and a beautiful Eyed Hawkmoth (which unfortunately flew away before we got a good picture!). Pictured here is an Angle Shades moth.

Angle Shades moth

Then 3 children from Colburn School came with their teacher to have a look around with a view to doing some conservation work here. They will be coming once a week till the end of term.

Whilst on a habitat walk with them along Risedale Beck Andrew spotted something up in a tree. As you can see, it was a swarm of bees.

After ringing Richmond Beekeepers we found out that it was one of Sandra's hives which had swarmed. This afternoon was spent re-capturing the bees by making them fall into a temporary basket called a skep. We then had to wait to see if the queen had been caught.

Bee hive

As you can see in the second picture the worker bees were congregating around the opening and fanning with their wings. This told the main swarm that the queen was in the basket and so called the rest of them in.

We closed off the paths and left the bees there for an hour or so to see if they would settle. On going back at 4 o'clock there were still some bees not in the skep. Sandra has left them there to be checked on later tonight when all the bees should be in the basket; they will then be gathered up and carried to a new hive.

Bee hive

This has been an exciting day for us at Foxglove as we don't usually see a hive swarm. Everyone who was there felt that they had learned a lot more about the bees and their behaviour thanks to Sandra.

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