17 April 2014

An April Swarm

I was called out to collect a swarm on Maundy Thursday, 17th April, after a spell of lovely sunny days.
Easter Swarm
Photo : Marion Malcher

In Britain, the most usual time for honeybees to swarm is during May, June and July. This fact is recorded in our language with the well known traditional rhyme in which April is not mentioned.

A swarm of bees in May, is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June, is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July is worth a butterfly.

Generally, April is rather too cold and unpredictable for bees to swarm in Britain. In France however a similar rhyme* values the worth of a swarm as a ewe in April, a milking cow in May and a bushel of grain in June. Nothing about July.

Jeton d'Avril, vaut une brebis;
Jeton de Mai, vaut une vache a lait;
Jeton de Juin, vaut un boisseau de grain.

The bees I collected are now safely in a new home. My thanks to Ben who made a kind donation to charity in return for my efforts in removing this stray swarm from his new conifer hedge.

This year my swarm collection donations are going to the British Tinnitus Association (online donation page to follow)

*Hilda M.Ransome "The Sacred Bee" 1937