A quick update and correction on the wild bees we have housed.
First off it has been pointed out to me that these are not a swarm but an established colony and of course I was a fool to describe them as a swarm. We were asked by a friend to collect a swarm and once in my head it stuck. But a colony it is. So Polly is right - even in this lovely climate (let's forget the last two summers!) the bees do not swarm in March. OK, my head is hung in shame. On with the update.
I have changed the super for a make-do brood box. We put a brood box on but of course it has openings and was no good. Instead we have put brood frames into two supers, one sitting on top of the other to give the height of a broodbox. If these bees do come up then we will be able to transfer the frames to a proper broodbox and go on from there.
Now, on to the second subject...
I have been criticised by someone here in France on another forum (this was the person who pointed out my vocab was way off). He doesn't explain very well but his comments are as follows:
"What can I say apart from it was not a swarm if it had taken up residence in a tree it was an established colony. It certainly was not from this year and why should it swarm from the tree in April? Had you had someone of experience and qualifications, not necessarily a keeper of bees long term, but a beekeeper with you it would have been easy to remove it and prevent it returning to the log. It is no different to a summer swarm in, say, a wall easy if you know what you are doing. If the bees are still in the green hive I wish you the best of luck in trying to manage it this year. I thought the bees used the suns position above them to build their comb in a true vertical plane. I always enjoy your postings as there is so little to bring cheer these days. I wish you well in your endeavours. I rest my case."
I have enormous faith in bees and less faith in my ability as a beekeeper but I do try and do my best. In an ideal world I would far rather be working alongside another beekeeper but unfortunately this isn't possible. I am always open to helpful suggestions (which seem to be lacking in the words above) - indeed I welcome them. Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to comment, both on the post and by email. Like I said constructive criticism is welcome and even more so is advice.