Thursday, June 11

Dressed To Impress

12th June
I haven’t seen the Maire since we went hive shopping a couple of weeks ago – he’d said that he would come and move our bees into the new hive - we’ve been poised for bee action, but we've also been busy with other things…

Yesterday we were all in the garden filming the hatching eggs of a swallowtail butterfly when hoards of winged ants started coming out of the earth behind us and climbing up the stalks of chili plants to launch themselves off on their nuptial flights. We’d just scrambled another camera to film the ants when the Maire’s car pulled into the drive and two men in futuristic-looking white overalls got out and walked towards us, the Maire was pumping bellows attached to a metal jug that puffed out smoke, it was like Gardener’s World had merged into an episode of Lost in Space.

The smoke calms the bees down, the Maire and his son set the new big hive next to the one already in the garden, they opened the lid of the new hive and put in a couple of frames of new wax, then they opened the top of the old hive and pulled out frames full of bee larvae and honey and crawling with bees, these were slotted into the new hive.

We wanted the frames spaced wider inside the hive for easier filming - we couldn't do this - the gap between the frames should be the width of a bee, otherwise they get stressed trying to keep the hive temperature constant.

The Maire left us with the smoke blower and his bee outfit, we will have to improvise more protective clothing from net curtains and the dressing-up box when we start filming.


  1. now that's exciting, sugar! we had a swarm of bees near our old house and had to have a bee collector come and take them away...i have a couple of shots of the hunka hunka stinging love somewhere... xoxox

  2. I love the bees, awesome little critters...

  3. A few years ago I was at a hotel for an event. On the way to my meeting room I noticed that there was some sort of bee keeper convention going on in one of the huge ballrooms. It wasn't open to the public. Everyone there was registered and sporting large name tags. From what I could see from the hallway, there was all sorts of bee keeping accessories on display.

  4. If you need wider-spaced frames but the gap between them should be the width of a bee, then you need bigger bees. Try to breed a mutant form that's about a foot across, then you can get any reasonable sized camera down there - you would have so much problem focussing on them either.

  5. Savannah hunka hunka stinging love

    I'd like to see that!

    Eric - the more I know about bees the more amazed I am.

    XL - Bee keeping involves a lot of accessories

    MJ - maybe - but more chic

    Gadjo - isn't there a MOnty Python song about that - Eric The One Foot Bee ?

  6. I can not wait to see the film!

  7. Great blog! Although the bugs are quite creepy.

  8. I'd like to see the film about the making of the film about insects.

  9. Zounds! A busy afternoon, indeed.

    Had no idea the winged ants were doing that for nuptials, thanks for the info...

    Agree that a film about the making of the film would be fascinating!


  10. Alphawoman - I'm afraid we have no deal to show it in the US yet - but I'l eep you posted

    Nice to meet you Mrs Mum - that's what bugs do for a living - they creep.

    BB and Mrs Cow - No money left for a film about the film - this is the low budget: Blog about the Film

    Had no idea the winged ants were doing that for nuptials,

    The poor things have to fly off and try and start a new colony - out of all the thousands that set off only a couple will make it.

  11. Dear Lulu -
    How are you, besides the bees and all that?

    It seems like I have been reading Earwig Sandwich for at least a year now (could it be?) and I am wondering how much longer are you going to be working as a "passepartout" who has suspended her usual line of work. I am also wondering when you are next going to be working around Kate Bush or her brother. I guess all that is kind of off-topic but I was wondering. Also, why does smoke calm bees when it makes all other kinds of animals (e.g. horses) nutty?

  12. You have a dressing up box? I could lend you some old sheets if that would help. It seems the least that I can do to help you out in these circumstances. How will you survive without the winged ants?

  13. My Dearest K _ you have indeed been coming here longer than anyone. This chapter will end very soon.

    I can't imagine seeing the Bushes again but who knows - I did think of you when I saw Robert Plant on stage recently (don't you and I share a crush dating back to his bare-chested days?)

    All the theories about why animals behave one way or another are only theories - our theory is that the best survival strategy in the event of a forest fire is for the bees to get home (in the tree)and wait out the fire quietly.

    Trees usually have quite good fireproofing. A horse can't fit in a tree and has to run for it!

    Madame DeFarge - I don't want your old sheets - I want you do bring your cancan outfit.

    There are always winged ants!

  14. to bring your outfit - darn my fingers!

  15. Bees love me. They're always trying to move in with me. I blame my essential oils.

  16. Cow now thinking interested thoughts about the pointless existence of so many winged ants, and feeling quite pointed and cheerful by comparison.


  17. I iamgine you'd need a bloody biohazard suit with all them crawlies everywhere.

    Hold on, you saw Robert Plant? I've not blogged for week, am I missing something?

  18. Scarlet - have you still got the bees in your chimney?

    Mrs Cow - I'm sure that you're thoroughly pointy, no need to worry on that score!

    Emers - Bees just prefer one to wear white it seems dark colours get them worked up.

    Robert Plant was back in April, being a bit off subject I didn't bring it up.


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