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A Hive of Activity

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Mr McMinn of the School's Beekeeping Club explains more:

On Tuesday of this week it was a privilege to behold one of nature's spectacles, a honey bee swarm! 

Whilst it did cause some inconvenience and concern for some, it provided a massive educational opportunity for staff and boys to learn about something quite unexpected in a routine day. 

We had previously tried to carry out swarm control procedures, but nature took its course and a virgin queen emerged taking half a colony with her. They spent the morning clustered around the queen in the boys' quad whilst scout bees looked for suitable accommodation further afield. It is important to realise that a swarm is very placid, their mission is to find a new home and food, they are not a danger to anyone. 

As we didn't want to lose our first 'Bolton School Queen Bee' we attempted to set bait hives, this failed. So we manually scooped them into a box and eventually returned them to their starting point but in a new hive on the roof. After school we searched for our new queen, and miraculously found her, amongst 35,000 bees. We marked her and fed the colony so they could rest well.


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The opened queen

The opened queen's cell, the queen having emerged

The bees are scooped into a box and returned to a new hive on the school roof

The queen bee