In the UK in May Mark phones me up in the middle of the day, not for a chat or to discuss supper menus but to tell me that the bees are swarming. I am often involved in a meeting workshop at least 50 miles away but then have to make my excuses and rush back home, put on my bee suit collect the swarm and rehouse it
So it was rather a relief in May 2013 Uganda, not to spend the whole month on tenterhooks ….. But I did miss the bees!!!
The local college where Mark works, made me a very splendid Kenyan top bar hive. We placed it on a stand in the corner of the compound , drenched the stand and the surrounding area with anti-termite solution and have constructed a frame to attach matting to shade the hive from the sun ……….and the custom and practice in Uganda is to wait for the bees to come to you. This is swarming season so the chances of occupation are high especially as all around us the grass is being burnt to clear the ground for digging when the rainy season comes.
I waited – not a bee was to be seen in the compound – the weather was hot and dry and very windy so not good bee flying conditions. Then a couple of days ago early in the morning I noticed bees on some orange flowers and had a word with them and later that day I got the bee call from Mark to say they had arrived. I rushed home and it was true, there they were coming in and out of the hive.
There don’t seem to be many but they seem very busy and occupied and as yet haven’t displayed any signs of aggression. Ugandan beekeeping does not appear to involve much intervention but I will put on my bee suit in a few weeks and have a look inside to see how they are doing.
This weekend’s tasks are to construct a landing stage for them on the outside of the hive near the holes and to attach the matting to the framework for sun protection.